Urinary incontinence and its management in patients aged 65 and older in orthopaedic care - what nursing and rehabilitation staff know and do

To describe what nursing and rehabilitation staff know and do with regards to urinary incontinence and risk of urinary incontinence in patients 65 years or older undergoing hip surgery.

Urinary incontinence is a common but often neglected issue for older people. Despite the existence of evidence-based guidelines on how to assess, manage and prevent UI, there are indications that these guidelines are not applied in hospital care.

A qualitative study with descriptive design was conducted in two orthopaedic units.

46 interviews and 36 observations of care were conducted from January to October 2014 and analysed with qualitative content analysis.

Enrolled nurses performed most of the care related to bladder function, with focus on urinary catheterisation and preventing urinary tract infection and urinary retention. Registered nurses' role in urinary matters mainly comprised documentation, while the rehabilitation staff focused on making it possible for the patient to be independent in toileting. The nursing staff considered urinary incontinence a common condition for older people and that it was convenient for the patients to have an indwelling catheter or incontinence pad/pant, although they acknowledged some of the risks associated with these procedures.

Urinary incontinence is not a priority in orthopaedic care, and urinary incontinence guidelines are not applied. Further, attitudes and actions are mainly characterised by a lack of urinary incontinence knowledge and the nursing and rehabilitation staff do not take a team approach to preventing and managing UI.

An increased focus on knowledge on urinary incontinence and evidence-based guidelines is needed. To secure evidence-based practice, the team of nursing and rehabilitation staff and managers must be aligned and work actively together, also including the patient in the team. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Journal of clinical nursing. 2016 Dec 16 [Epub ahead of print]

Maria Hälleberg Nyman, Henrietta Forsman, Joan Ostaszkiewicz, Ami Hommel, Ann Catrine Eldh

School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden., School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden., School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia., Faculty of health and Society, Department of Care Science, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.