Our latest report carried out by Professor Katie Featherstone and Dr Andy Northcott, and a wider interdisciplinary team presents the findings of our latest new ethnographic research, Understanding how to facilitate continence for people with dementia in acute hospital setting.
This detailed report focusses on a hidden and often poorly understood aspect of everyday care. The findings will be revealed on BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 on 21 June at 20:00 and on BBC Sounds.
The research is funded by the National Institute for Health & Care Research (NIHR HS&DR programme), which delivers research for the Department of Health and Social Care. This publicly-funded study, took place across six wards in three hospitals over the course of a year.
The study identified what the authors call the ingrained practices of ‘pad culture’. This is the everyday and routine use of continence pads as a precautionary strategy in the care of people living with dementia regardless of their continence and independence. The rationale was to provide safeguards, ensure containment, and prevent ‘accidents’ or incontinent episodes, however, it led to expectations that patients living with dementia not only wear pads, but that they could and should use the pad. These practices often had irreversible impacts on the ability, dignity and identity of individuals as well as their families.