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NHS Improvement video highlights risks of Autonomic Dysreflexia

In July 2018, NHS Improvement issued a Patient Safety Alert highlighting the need for appropriate bowel care provision for people with SCI and neurogenic bowel dysfunction. Some of these patients, especially those with SCI above T6, are particularly susceptible to the potentially life-threatening condition Autonomic Dysreflexia, which is characterised by a rapid rise in blood pressure, risking cerebral hemorrhage and death.

The Patient Safety Alert was the culmination of several years work instigated and led by SIA, in particular by SIA’s Chair of Trustees Dr Rupert Earl and our SCI Nurse Specialists Carol Adcock and Debbie Green. The Alert was sent to all NHS provider Trusts (specialist, community and acute) as well as to independent providers of health and social care and requires them to ensure appropriate bowel care for SCI people, to avoid the potentially lethal consequences of Autonomic Dysreflexia.

In December NHS Improvement issued a video to support the Patient Safety Alert. It features Tracy who is spinal cord injured and shares her story of the fear she experienced when hospital staff didn’t listen to her concerns regarding her increasingly serious symptoms of Autonomic Dysreflexia. She also highlights what staff should do in the future in circumstances like these, which backs up the key messages of the Patient Safety Alert and Spinal Injuries Association.