Improving nurse engagement in continence care
Kathleen F Hunter,1 Adrian S Wagg2
1Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; 2Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Abstract: Urinary (UI) and fecal incontinence (FI) are troublesome conditions for many in society; both UI and FI increase in prevalence with increasing age. Despite well-recognized effects on health, well-being and quality of life, incontinence is often seen by care providers and payers as a social problem, rather than a health related one. Nurses are in a key position to assist those affected by UI. Nurses have the potential to identify people with incontinence, establish appropriate interventions and provide valuable education to empower patients. Indeed, nurses are ideally placed to perform the initial assessment and management of incontinence, that portion of the care pathway which is crucial, but often poorly done. Unfortunately, this is not always easily implemented; nursing staff have identified environmental barriers, such as lack of time at work, and consider UI a low priority that prevents the facilitation of interventions. This article reviews the evidence on nursing involvement, or lack of it, in continence care and suggests a strategy to improve the situation, involving a complex intervention of knowledge translation.
Keywords: nursing, continence, knowledge transfer, continence specialist nurses
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