Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Primary Care and Community Health



PubMed ID





School of Nursing and Midwifery




Houghton, D., Arabiat, D., Ireson, D., & Mörelius, E. (2022). A scoping review of non-pharmacological health education provided to families of children with idiopathic childhood constipation within primary health care. Journal of primary care & community health, 13, 1-17.


Objectives: Idiopathic childhood constipation is a prevalent condition that initially brings the child under the care of the primary health care team. Although it is acknowledged that health education is crucial to reducing chronicity, the range of evidenced-based non-pharmacological health education provided to families has not previously been reviewed. For this scoping review, 4 research questions sought to identify papers that provide information on the utilization of guidelines, the range of health education, who provides it, and whether any gaps exist. Methods: Following a registered protocol and using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews, searches of 10 online databases, reference lists, Google Scholar, and book chapter references were made. Eligible papers were original research published in English between January 2000 and December 2022. Results: Twelve worldwide studies (2 qualitative and 10 quantitative) reported that: evidence-based guidelines are not consistently used by primary care providers; the range of non-pharmacological health education provided is inconsistent; the non-pharmacological health education is provided by doctors, nurses, and pharmacists; and that gaps exist in non-pharmacological health education provision. Conclusion: This review demonstrates that rather than a lack of guideline-awareness, decreased specific idiopathic childhood constipation knowledge (and possibly time) may be responsible for inconsistent non-pharmacological health education. Inappropriate treatment and management of some children escalates risk for chronicity. Improving health education provision however, may be achieved through: increased collaboration; better utilization of nurses; and through developing the child’s health literacy by involving both child and family in all aspects of health education and decision-making.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License