The CSP’s Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP) network has welcomed NICE draft guidelines recommending supervised training programmes for women with pelvic floor dysfunction.
In addition to calling for pelvic health classes in schools, the guidelines recommend a community-based multidisciplinary team approach for the management of pelvic floor dysfunction following the initial assessment in primary care.
They recommend supervised pelvic floor muscle training programme of up to four months for women with pelvic organ prolapse and urinary or faecal incontinence.
The draft guidelines also outline how pelvic floor dysfunction should be added to the syllabus for trainee nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, midwives and teachers.
POGP chair Dr Kate Lough said the network would be contributing detailed feedback on the draft consultation document Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Prevention and Non-Surgical Management – June 2021.
This guideline is a very welcome step towards a strategy for lifelong pelvic floor care for all women, helping to reduce the normalisation of pelvic floor dysfunction at key life stages such as childbearing and older age.
Recommendations for a multidisciplinary approach were also supported. 'Broader involvement of all the agencies included in delivering healthcare and lifestyle advice and activities is to be welcomed,' Lough explained.
The expansion of education on pelvic health could be pivotal in improving women’s health. Lough said: 'A wider provision of information for women will help increase the national dialogue about the impact of pelvic floor dysfunction for so many women.
But providing the evidence for healthcare professionals was also important, she argued. 'The development of the research recommendations are key to improving the knowledge and certainty about optimal interventions for different populations of women and for understanding more about areas of greater uncertainty.
'This includes determining beneficial exercise for women with pelvic floor dysfunction and how to include pelvic floor awareness in the educational curricula.'
Translating the recommendations into practice would require expanding the workforce, Lough pointed out. 'Implementation of the recommendations will clearly impact on current practice and POGP will support any plans to increase the required workforce of specialist physiotherapists to achieve this goal.'
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