The Pediatric Bowel Management Clinic: initial results of a multidisciplinary approach to functional constipation in children

J Pediatr Surg. 1997 Jun;32(6):843-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(97)90633-3.


The multifactorial nature of functional constipation in children suggests that a multidisciplinary management approach may be effective. The authors tested this hypothesis in a newly created pediatric Bowel Management Clinic (BMC). Detailed data were collected prospectively on all patients seen in the clinic over the first 16 months. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed to describe the index population and to demonstrate the impact of the intervention. Satisfaction with care in the clinic was measured using the Measure of Processes of Care tool, then compared with a normative sample. One hundred fourteen patients, all previously treated unsuccessfully for constipation, were referred to a team comprised of a physician, nurse practitioner, nurse educator, dietitian, and psychosocial nurse specialist. The mean age was 5.4 years with equal gender distribution. Between the first and last visits recorded, several variables including stool consistency and frequency, soiling frequency, abdominal pain, rectal pain, and rectal bleeding all showed statistically significant (P < .05) improvement. Qualitative data analysis showed the significant psychosocial impact of constipation on patients and their families. In the Measures of Processes of Care questionnaire, scores for the BMC were higher than normal on all scales except in provision of information. A multidisciplinary approach to functional constipation leads to both patient and parent satisfaction and significant short-term improvement. Further studies will examine the long-term impact of the clinic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Ontario
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome