Staff awareness of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) in tertiary care - a qualitative cross-sectional study.

Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is proven to protect against pelvic-floor weakness in the form of urinary incontinence (UI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines advise supervised PFMT as first-line treatment of stress or mixed UI and POP. Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in educating patients. Our aim is to study the extent of awareness of PFMT amongst healthcare professionals by a single-centre cross-sectional study of voluntarily participating 44 healthcare professionals. The term 'pelvic floor exercise' had varied explanations; 53% staff thought they knew how to undertake pelvic-floor assessment, although there was no standard method or terminology to describe the technique or outcome. Staff were unaware of PERFECTR method, Modified Oxford Grading, slow and fast contractions which form the basic criteria of standardised pelvic floor assessment and training. Only 43% staff were aware of online resources.Impact StatementWhat is already known on this subject? There have been many studies confirming the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) in the prevention and treatment of long-term morbidities like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and sexual dysfunction. However, there have been no studies in the published literature about staff awareness of this important evidence based health intervention in women's health services.What do the results of this study add? We believe the awareness among health care staff about PFMT is still limited. Our study is the first of its kind in literature to highlight that staff awareness about this health intervention is still poor which in turn means staff are not well equipped to offer the support and guidance the patients need.What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? The lack of awareness of staff needs addressing on an urgent basis. Knowledge of PFMT is essential for health care staff to provide appropriate patient education and support. We recommend including information of PFMT and assessment methods in local and national guidelines to help increase awareness of staff and patients alike and help achieve better global pelvic health.

Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology : the journal of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2022 Mar 15 [Epub ahead of print]

Kamalaveni Soundararajan, Manoj Dilruksha Chandrasiri, Pooja Balchandra

Hull and East Yorkshire University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Kingston Upon Hull, UK., Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Kingston Upon Hull, UK.

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