Research has shown that rural older women with the common condition of urinary incontinence (UI), who received a behavioral management intervention in their homes, reduced UI severity by a surprising 61%, compared to the control group, whose UI severity increased by 184%. These findings were based on data collected two years after the women began the study. Details of the study appear in the February issue of Research in Nursing and Health. The research was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, part of the National Institutes of Health.
According to principal investigator Molly Dougherty, PhD, RN, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, A rural study of this magnitude has never been done before. These older women are particularly vulnerable, because they are often poor, and healthcare resources and long-term care facilities are lacking in rural areas, she said.
These research results are good news for older women, said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, Director of the NINR. They indicate that easy to use behavioral strategies work well, and that once women know about the techniques, many can manage their own continence. She also pointed out that Since urinary incontinence is a leading reason for persons in rural areas to move to a nursing home, controlling this disorder means better control of quality of life and the ability to remain at home longer.
The study involved between 2 and 14 visits to the womens homes by nursing staff and behavioral techniques conducted in sequence to manage the urine loss that resulted from factors related to stress symptoms (such as coughing or sneezing), an overpowering urge to urinate, or both. The 178 research participants, 94 in the intervention group and 84 controls, were 55 years and older and lived in seven rural Northern Florida counties.
In older adults living in the community the prevalence of UI ranges between 15 35 %, with women havin
Contact: Linda Cook
NIH/National Institute of Nursing Research