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JAMA. 1987 Apr 3;257(13):1767-71.

Urinary incontinence among geriatric patients in an acute-care hospital.


The prevalence, time course, and factors associated with urinary incontinence were examined among 363 patients aged 65 years or older admitted to the acute medical and surgical services of a university hospital. Overall, 35% were incontinent of urine at some time during their hospital stay; incontinence was more common among women and among those older than 75 years. Indwelling catheters were used in 50% of the incontinent patients and 25% of the patients who were otherwise continent while in the hospital. Incontinence was associated with impaired cognitive and physical functioning and with treatment for urinary tract infections. In most of the patients who were incontinent while hospitalized, incontinence was a persistent phenomenon and had been present before hospitalization and was present afterward. Only 5% had "transient" or "nosocomial" incontinence. These data suggest that the acute-care hospital may provide a good opportunity for physicians to identify the often-ignored problem of incontinence, and to then initiate an appropriate diagnostic evaluation of this condition if it persists after hospital discharge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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