Purpose: Urinary incontinence (UI) often remains inadequately treated. In the literature, there are indications that continence nurses' diagnoses and treatment advices are beneficial in terms of clinical outcomes. However, the precise short-term and long-term effects are unclear. This study investigates the short-term and long-term effects of the introduction of a continence nurse in the care of community-dwelling women suffering from UI.
Methods: In a cluster randomized study, 38 women were referred to the continence nurse who, guided by a protocol, assessed and advised the patients about therapy, lifestyle, or medication. If progress was disappointing, therapy was revised. Results were compared to a group of 13 women who received "usual care" by the general practitioner. Data on frequency and volume of incontinence, quality of life, and patient satisfaction were collected at baseline and after 3, 6, and 12 months.
Results: After 6 months, women in the intervention group reported a greater reduction in "moderate" incontinent episodes when compared to women in the control group. No treatment effect was found after 12 months. Although there was a stronger improvement in scores as regards to quality of life in the intervention group, with the exception of the dimension "physical," no treatment effect was found.
Conclusion: The introduction of a continence nurse demonstrates short-term benefit to community-dwelling women suffering from UI. However, the long-term effects should be further explored with larger study populations.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN15553880.