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'It is what it is': Mothers’ experiences of providing bladder and bowel care to their daughters living with life-limiting conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number12
Early online date22 Dec 2017
Accepted/In press28 Nov 2017
E-pub ahead of print22 Dec 2017


  • It is what it_COMBES_Accepted28November2017_GREEN AAM

    AAM.pdf, 774 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:19 Dec 2017

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in
    INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE NURSING, copyright © MA Healthcare, after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

King's Authors


Background: Informal carers (carers) support palliative patients to live at home. Most palliative patients require bladder and bowel care (B&BC) at some point, but there is limited evidence about carers providing B&BC and how best to support them. Aim: To explore carers’ experiences of providing B&BC to life-limited young adults. Methods: Interpretative phenomenological analysis of five interviews with purposively selected carers. Results: One overarching theme, ‘It is what it is’, and three superordinate themes (‘Whatever my daughter needs’, ‘Mum knows best’, and ‘Coping with caring’) emerged. While B&BC could be challenging at times, it was not a major concern. Instead it engendered closeness and opportunities for carers to provide better care than they felt professionals could. Conclusions: This study informs how professionals should understand the support carers offer. Professionals should ensure that carer/patient dyads who wish to manage B&BC are supported to do so, and that their support needs are regularly assessed.

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