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September 10, 1982

Urinary Incontinence in Elderly Nursing Home Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Sepulveda, Calif (Drs Ouslander and Abrass); the UCLA Multicampus Division of Geriatric Medicine (Dr Kane) and the Department of Medicine (Drs Ouslander, Kane, and Abrass), UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles; and the Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif (Dr Kane). Dr Ouslander is now with the UCLA Multicampus Division of Geriatric Medicine, Jewish Homes for the Aging, Reseda, Calif.

JAMA. 1982;248(10):1194-1198. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330100032026

Among elderly nursing home patients, urinary incontinence is a prevalent and costly condition. In seven nursing homes studied, 419 (50%) of the elderly patients were incontinent of urine. Most had been incontinent at admission (64%), had more than one incontinent episode per day or a catheter (72%), and had concomitant fecal incontinence (64%). The majority of incontinent patients had substantial cognitive impairment and limitations in mobility. The severity of these impairments was related to the extent of incontinence. Complications such as urinary tract infection and skin breakdown occurred in almost 45% and were more common in patients with catheters. Physicians recorded incontinence as a problem, or any efforts to evaluate it, in the nursing home records of less than 15% of these patients.

(JAMA 1982;248:1194-1198)