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Education for a common childhood concern

Riley Hospital for Children

Riley Children’s Health is the first place that comes to mind when kids in Indiana experience a traumatic illness or injury. In addition to lifesaving care, much of what the medical teams at Riley Children’s provide is a better quality of life for kids and families. The educational program on nighttime bedwetting is one example of how Riley expertise is helping kids be kids.

Nocturnal enuresis, or nighttime bedwetting, is developmentally normal until the age of five; however, when it’s happening to your child, it can feel overwhelming and concerning. Riley Children’s Health has the only pediatric urology program in the state of Indiana, so when parents have questions about their child, they are referred to Riley.

Since this is a common problem, it can mean more than 100 children per month are referred to Riley by their pediatricians. In 2016, Melissa Young and a fellow nurse saw the high need of these families, and they started a group education program. This free program is for parents, caregivers, and children, and Melissa hosts two sessions every month.

Since 2020, the education sessions have taken place via Zoom, and anyone who is referred to Riley for bedwetting is automatically registered – more than 800 families have registered. “People like the option of being able to do this for free, virtually, and with or without the child present,” Melissa said. The program also allows families to address the issue sooner, rather than waiting for an appointment – families can start implementing solutions within days.

In each session, Melissa discusses evidence-based practices, behavior modification, medication options, and tools that can help, like alarms and diaries. Most of the time, behavior modification through the use of an alarm is highly successful, although it typically takes 3-4 months of training to see results. “Treatment is based on getting the brain and the bladder connection to happen,” Melissa said. “It will happen eventually; we just don’t know when.”

In addition to more quickly meeting the needs of these families, the educational program has allowed the urology team to focus clinic time on children who have higher levels of care needs, like medical imaging, procedures, and meetings with specialists. Riley’s Urology program is ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.