Impact of urine and mixed incontinence on long-term care preference: a vignette-survey study of community-dwelling older adults

BMC Geriatr. 2020 Feb 18;20(1):69. doi: 10.1186/s12877-020-1439-x.


Background: In view of population aging, a better knowledge of factors influencing the type of long-term care (LTC) among older adults is necessary. Previous studies reported a close relationship between incontinence and institutionalization, but little is known on opinions of older citizens regarding the most appropriate place of care. This study aimed at evaluating the impact of urine and/or fecal incontinence on preferences of community-dwelling older citizens.

Methods: We derived data from the Lausanne cohort 65+, a population-based study of individuals aged from 68 to 82 years. A total of 2974 community-dwelling persons were interviewed in 2017 on the most appropriate place of LTC delivery for three vignettes displaying a fixed level of disability with varying degrees of incontinence (none, urinary, urinary and fecal). Multinomial logistic regression analyses explored the effect of respondents' characteristics on their opinion according to Andersen's model.

Results: The level of incontinence described in vignettes strongly determined the likelihood of considering institutional care as most appropriate. Respondents' characteristics such as age, gender, educational level, being a caregiver, knowledge of shelter housing or feeling supported by family influenced LTC choices. Self-reported incontinence and other indicators of respondents' need, however, had no significant independent effect.

Conclusion: Among older community-dwelling citizens, urinary and fecal incontinence play a decisive role in the perception of a need for institutionalization. Prevention and early initiation of support for sufferers may be a key to prevent this need and ensure familiar surrounding as long as possible.

Keywords: Fecal incontinence; Long-term care; Older citizen opinion; Urine incontinence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fecal Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Fecal Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy