Continence for women: a test of AWHONN's evidence-based protocol in clinical practice

J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2000 Mar;27(2):109-117. doi: 10.1016/s1071-5754(00)90078-0.


OBJECTIVE: To test the effectiveness of an evidence-based protocol for urinary incontinence in increasing identification of women with the condition and improving their outcomes. DESIGN: Prospective formative evaluation study. SETTING: Twenty-one public, private, and other women's health care sites. PARTICIPANTS: Women in ambulatory care settings (N = 1474) provided descriptive statistics. Clinical outcomes were tested in 132 cases for whom pre- and posttreatment data were available. INTERVENTIONS: Standardized screening and baseline follow-up forms were used to minimize time burden on clinicians; bladder and pelvic floor muscle training materials were provided to clinicians for distribution. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-reported frequency, volume, and quality of life related to incontinence and cost of self-management were used to assess protocol effectiveness. RESULTS: Frequency of incontinence episodes, estimated volume lost per episode, and the cost of self-management decreased. Quality of life improved, as reflected in decreased bother attributed to incontinence and in the number of women avoiding activities such as shopping, exercising, or travel because of incontinence. CONCLUSIONS: This simple program of pelvic floor muscle and bladder training, as it has been systematically implemented in a variety of ambulatory women's health care settings, has benefitted women's continence status. The results of this project strongly support widespread application.