Adherence to professional guidelines for patients with urinary incontinence by general practitioners: a cross-sectional study

J Eval Clin Pract. 2008 Oct;14(5):807-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2007.00925.x. Epub 2008 May 2.


Background: Urinary incontinence is a common problem, affecting quality of life and leading to high costs. There is doubt about the use of clinical practice guidelines on urinary incontinence in primary care.

Objective: To assess adherence levels and reasons for (non)adherence to the Guideline on Urinary Incontinence of the Dutch College of General Practitioners. Design, setting and participants A postal survey among Dutch general practitioners (GPs).

Main outcome measure: Adherence of GPs to the guideline.

Results: We analysed 264 questionnaires. Almost all GPs adhered to the guideline when diagnosing the type of urinary incontinence. A bladder diary is not often used (35%). Adherence to therapeutic procedures was only high for mild/moderate stress urinary incontinence: most GPs (82.6%) used adequate advice on bladder retraining and pelvic floor muscle training. One out of four GPs agreed that adhering to the guideline is difficult, mainly owing to lack of time, staff, diagnostic tools, competences to provide this care and low motivation of patients.

Conclusions: Dutch GPs follow the guideline only partially: compliance with diagnostic advices is fairly good; compliance with treatment advices is low. Further research should focus on solutions how to support GPs to tackle major barriers to facilitate the adherence to guidelines (substitution of tasks to specialized nurses, reducing the threshold for referral and concentrating expertise in integrated continence care services).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Family Practice / education
  • Family Practice / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Netherlands
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Physicians, Family* / education
  • Physicians, Family* / organization & administration
  • Physicians, Family* / psychology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Incontinence* / diagnosis
  • Urinary Incontinence* / therapy