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SCI: Bowel, Bladder, & Sexual Dysfunction

presented by Anne Leclaire, RN, MSN, CRRN

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Anne Leclaire receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.


 Non-Financial: Anne Leclaire has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Spinal cord injuries can cause catastrophic changes to the person's ability to control bowel, bladder, and sexual function. Each of these areas has a significant effect on the person's quality of life and ability to live independently. Medical professionals use their knowledge of expected functional outcomes for each level of injury to create a plan of care to maximize the person's abilities to maintain continence and decrease their burden of care. We are all sexual beings and it is important for these individuals to understand that sexuality can still be a part of their lives. This course reviews the interprofessional team's role in the management of bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction.

Meet Your Instructor

Anne Leclaire, RN, MSN, CRRN

Anne graduated with a Master of Science-Nursing from the University of Phoenix and has worked in the field of rehabilitation nursing for most of her career. She started as a staff nurse in inpatient rehabilitation at Weldon Center for Rehabilitation in Springfield, Massachusetts and then moved to Madison, Wisconsin, at University of Wisconsin Hospitals and…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Gastrointestinal System Manifestations: Bowel Dysfunction

The spinal cord injury’s effect on the individual’s GI system will be dependent on the level and completeness of the injury. This usually involves the ability to voluntarily control bowel emptying, placing the person at risk for incontinence or bowel obstruction. This chapter will discuss the expected changes caused by the spinal cord injury and how medical professionals will use this information to develop and implement bowel management strategies based on the person’s level of injury. Teaching persons with SCI to address and prevent complications is also discussed.

2. Genitourinary System Manifestations: Bladder Dysfunction

The spinal cord injury’s effect on the individual’s GU system will be dependent on the level and completeness of the injury. This usually involves the ability to control bladder emptying, placing the person at risk for incontinence or retention. This chapter will discuss the expected changes caused by the spinal cord injury and how medical professionals will use this information to develop and implement bladder management strategies based on the person’s level of injury.

3. Promoting Bladder Health and Preventing Complications

The spinal cord injury’s effect on the individual’s GU system will be dependent on the level and completeness of the injury, which will determine the appropriate bladder management technique. The inability to control bladder emptying places the person with a spinal cord injury at risk for potential complications, such as infections and retention. This chapter will review the medical professional’s role in providing education on potential urinary tract complications and discussing strategies to promote a healthy urinary system.

4. Genitourinary System Manifestations: Sexual Dysfunction

The spinal cord injury’s effect on an individual’s sexual function will depend on the level and completeness of the injury. This usually involves the loss of the ability to control the physical changes and loss of or changes in sensations that occur during sexual activity. This chapter will discuss these alterations caused by the spinal cord injury as well as strategies to overcome these barriers. Medical professionals perform an important role in educating and supporting persons with a spinal cord injury as they seek to regain their sexuality, and the interprofessional team must be current and comfortable to provide this information.

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