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Constipation can kill

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Constipation can kill
by Denise Eglinton - Friday, 9 November 2018, 9:20 AM

Dear Colleague

People with Learning Disabilities are much more likely to have constipation for a number of reasons and as a direct result of this not being managed effectively, it can ultimately lead to death.

The following is an extract from the Guardian on 8th February 2018:

“An inquest into the early and preventable death of Richard Handley, a young man who had Down’s syndrome and suffered lifelong constipation, has found “gross [and] very significant failures” at almost every stage of his care.

The coroner, Peter Dean, criticised Mr Handley’s care provider, GP practice, psychiatrist, social workers and staff at Ipswich hospital when he recorded a narrative verdict at Ipswich coroners’ court. The multiple omissions of care, he said, created an “extreme and tragic situation” that led to Mr Handley’s death from constipation, a “condition that one is not expected to die of”.

Aged just 33, Mr Handley died suddenly in Ipswich hospital in November 2012 after a heart attack caused by inhaling his own liquid faeces, vomited up because his bowel was severely obstructed by faecal impaction. His abdomen was, one doctor noted, the size of that of a woman who was 40 weeks’ pregnant.”

The following learning outcomes are for the face to face, Managing Constipation course:

·           Explain why suppositories / enemas are used

·           Describe how to administer suppositories / enemas

·           Support the person receiving the suppository / enema

·           Discuss ethical and safety issues in relation to the administration of suppositories and enemas

·           Describe how to carry out an antegrade continence enema (ACE)

If you wish to attend the Managing Constipation course, click here to view the Training Calendar for possible dates.  To book a place on this course please ask your manager to email the training admin team at

Kind regards