Bowel Preparation

Bowel preparation: an intervention targeting patient factors to improve the quality of bowel preparation

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
Duration: November 2014 – June 2016


This project aimed to identify patient factors associated with poor bowel preparation prior to colonoscopy and address modifiable factors such as patient engagement.

What we did

The project involved two core components:

  • A retrospective audit of colonoscopies performed in the previous 12 months to assess the proportion of patients presenting with sub-optimal bowel preparation.
  • An endoscopist-blinded randomised controlled study where patients in an intervention group received additional education (in relation to their colonoscopy) from an enrolled nurse in the days preceding the procedure.


The project examined the effects of additional patient education and support on the quality of bowel preparation and levels of patient satisfaction. The hypothesis tested was that the intervention leads to a clinically significant reduction in the number of suboptimal bowel preparations. Better bowel preparation translates to less early surveillance or repeat colonoscopies and more efficient resource allocation from the organisational perspective.

CHSD worked in conjunction with The Wollongong Hospital Gastroenterology Department on several elements of this project including:

  • Providing support in completing relevant ethical applications.
  • Developing an evaluation framework to underpin the overall conduct of the project.
  • Developing appropriate patient experience and satisfaction instruments for data collection.
  • Developing assessment tools to measure the sustainability and scalability of the project.
  • Providing statistical expertise with data analysis.
  • Providing support in report writing.


Last reviewed: 1 June, 2017

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