This article describes the introduction of abdominal massage techniques by a community team as part of a total bowel management programme for people with learning disabilities. A trust-wide audit of prescribed laxative use by this client group raised concerns, and led to a more systematic approach to managing constipation in people with learning disabilities. An education programme for carers proved to be successful. Some reported that adopting abdominal massage provided further opportunity to develop the therapeutic relationship.
Keywords: Abdominal massage; autism; bowel management; constipation; laxatives; learning disabilities.