Urinary and fecal incontinence are independently associated with falls risk among older women and men with complex needs: A national population study.

To determine the relationships between urinary incontinence (UI), fecal incontinence (FI), and falls risk among community-dwelling older women and men with complex needs, after controlling for confounders.

All community care recipients in New Zealand undergo standardized needs assessments, using the Home Care International Residential Assessment Instrument (interRAI-HC), which elicits information over multiple domains, including UI and FI frequency and falls. Consenting women and men aged greater than or equal to 65 years with at least one interRAI-HC assessment undertaken between 1 July 2012 and 1 June 2018 were investigated using multilevel mixed effects ordinal regression models, stratified by sex.

Overall, 57 781 (61.8%) women and 35 681 (38.2%) men were eligible, contributing 138 302 interRAI-HC assessments. At first assessment, the average age was 82.0 years (range: 65-109 years); high falls risk was common, found among 8.8% of women and 12.4% of men; and 43.7% of women and 33.7% of men reported some incontinence. For women, the adjusted odds of increasing falls risk was 1.24 (95% CI: 1.18, 1.30) for those with occasional UI, 1.36 (95% CI: 1.29, 1.43) for those with frequent UI, and 1.19 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.26) for those with any FI compared with their continent counterparts. Among men, the adjusted odds were 1.49 (95% CI: 1.41, 1.58) for any UI and 1.18 (95% CI: 1.10, 1.27) for any FI.

UI and FI are common, have separate associations with falls risk among women and men, and would benefit from routine screening in primary health care for older adults.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2020 Feb 03 [Epub ahead of print]

Philip J Schluter, Deborah A Askew, Hamish A Jamieson, Edwin P Arnold

School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand., Primary Care Clinical Unit, School of Clinical Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia., Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand., Department of Surgery, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.