Incontinence care in nursing homes: a cross-sectional study

Manuela Mandl*, Ruud J. G. Halfens, Christa Lohrmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims. To describe the quality of incontinence care in nursing homes. Main outcome measures were: (1) availability of structural quality indicators on ward and institutional levels; (2) use of nursing interventions as quality indicators on a process level; (3) prevalence of incontinence as an outcome indicator. Background. Incontinence in older people is a major problem in nursing care that presents a high workload for nurses, increases costs and places a high burden on affected individuals. The availability of structural indicators, and the use of nursing interventions, is recommended to improve the quality of care. Only limited amounts of reliable and valid data are available regarding the quality of incontinence care in nursing homes. Design. A cross-sectional multicentre study in 16 nursing homes (N = 1302) in 2013. Methods. A standardized and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. Each resident was assessed by two trained nurses. Results/findings. The primary outcome of the study indicated that structural indicators, such as the availability of information brochures, are limited in nursing homes. On a process level, the provision of body worn pads or underlay pads to protect beds or chairs were most frequently used and training interventions were only delivered to a small proportion of residents with incontinence. The prevalence of all types of incontinence, particularly double incontinence, was high (69.2%). Conclusion. Due to the high prevalence of double incontinence and low rate of training interventions regarding this type of incontinence, ongoing efforts to improve the quality of incontinence care are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2142-2152
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • continence
  • long-term care
  • practice nursing
  • quality of care

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