A nursing innovation to promote healthy bowel functioning in children

Reid-Searl, Kerry and Anderson, Carina ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7805-6205 and Crowley, Kate and Blunt, Nicole and Cole, Rachelle and Suraweera, Dayani (2021) A nursing innovation to promote healthy bowel functioning in children. Collegian. ISSN 1322-7696


Background: Constipation affects up to 30% of children world-wide and if not managed effectively, this condition can progress into adult years. Constipation in children can result in physical and psychosocial concern. One way to help reduce constipation in children is for nurses and health care professionals, who are working with children, to put strategies in place that enable children to gain an awareness of their own bowel functioning and ways to promote healthy stools.

Aim: The aim of this study was to design and implement an educational resource for children between the ages of four and -8 years about healthy bowel functioning and to evaluate its effectiveness from a parent/ caregiver’s perspective.

Methods: This study used a convergent mixed methods approach to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention ‘The Poop it Kit’. Following ethical approval, 15 parents/caregivers were recruited for the study. After a period of 2-4 weeks of using ‘The Poop it Kit’ with children, participants were asked to complete a survey as well provide open-ended feedback.

Findings: Results of the survey revealed that ‘The Poop it Kit’ was a fun and engaging resource for children. The kit improved children and parents’/caregivers’ knowledge about healthy bowel habits and it influenced positive behavioural changes for children in ways to promote healthy bowel functioning.

Discussion: Education to address constipation and ultimately the promotion of healthy bowel functioning begins with parents, caregivers and children feeling open to discuss the topic of poo (faeces) and what makes healthy poo. Nurses play a part in providing that education. Constipation is challenging for the child, and if not managed early can lead to problems such as overflow faecal incontinence. The design of ‘The Poop it Kit’ focused on ways to engage children and the resources were beneficial in educating children about healthy bowel habits.

Conclusion: The creation of a resource for children relating to bowel functioning has been a step in the right direction. Improving bowel functioning begins with education. Empowering children with knowledge about their bowels begins with the creation of aged appropriate, fun and engaging resources that children and their caregivers can become immersed in.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 7 July 2021. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 02:17
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 02:17
Uncontrolled Keywords: paediatric constipation, children and bowel elimination, bowel function
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111403 Paediatrics
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420503 Community and primary care
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420599 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified
Funding Details:
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2021.06.005
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42753

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