Urinary incontinence in nursing homes: incidence, remission and associated factors

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1993 Oct;41(10):1083-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1993.tb06456.x.


Objective: To determine the incidence and remission rates of daytime urinary incontinence (UI) in a cohort of newly admitted nursing home (NH) residents.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Eight proprietary NHs in Maryland.

Subjects: Four hundred thirty new admissions age 65 or older who were participants in a larger prospective study of mental morbidity and adjustment to the NH.

Measures: Nurses aides' reports of continence status, psychiatric examinations, and nursing staff assessments of mobility at 2 weeks, 2 months, and 1 year after NH admission.

Results: The prevalence of daytime UI at admission was 39% in both females and males. Among the 293 members (68%) of the admission cohort remaining in the NHs 2 months after admission, the incidence of daytime UI was 27% (21% in females, 51% in males); daytime UI resolved in 23% (24% in females, 20% in males). Among the 178 members (41%) of the admission cohort remaining in the NHs 1 year after admission, the incidence of daytime UI between 2 months and 1 year after admission was 19% (16% in females, 46% in males); daytime UI resolved in 22% (23% in females, 14% in males). The continence status of about two-thirds of residents remaining in the NH at 1 year after admission was stable over time: 22% had daytime UI, and 42% were continent at all three data collection points. The development of daytime UI was associated with male sex, the diagnosis of dementia, fecal incontinence, and the inability to ambulate or transfer independently. Resolution of daytime UI was associated with the absence of these characteristics.

Conclusions: Despite limitations attributable to the method of defining UI and potential biases related to the attrition of the admission cohort over time, this is the first large prospective study to examine the incidence and remission patterns of daytime UI among NH residents. The strong association between UI and dementia was validated for the first time by direct psychiatric examinations. Sex and mobility are also closely associated with the development and remission of UI in this setting. This study provides some valuable data that can be used to assess the impacts of the recently developed Resident Assessment Protocol for UI and Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fecal Incontinence / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Sex Distribution
  • Urinary Incontinence / complications
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*