An Exploration of Acute Care Nurses╩╝ Approach to Assessment and Management of People With Urinary Incontinence Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this study was to explore the approach taken by nurses in an adult acute-care hospital to the assessment and management of people with urinary incontinence.A qualitative exploratory and descriptive design was used.Thirty-three registered nurses from medical and surgical areas of an adult acute-care hospital in Melbourne, Australia, were recruited to participate in the study.A questionnaire was developed using a series of 5 scenarios, each representing typical stories relating to different types of urinary incontinence. The participants' responses were analyzed for themes. The findings were presented in a focus group of participants to check validity of the findings and to discuss the implications for practice.The researchers found that the participants in this study were limited in their assessment and management of people with urinary incontinence.The results of this study suggest that acute care nurses have limited ability to assess and manage varying types of urinary incontinence. There are many possible reasons for this limited ability, primarily lack of knowledge, but contributing factors are lack of time, lack of support, and a culture that fails to promote independent practice and holistic care. Specific continence education in undergraduate nursing programs and following graduation is indicated, and acute-care hospitals need to develop systems, processes, policies, documentation, and role models to enhance the care of clients with urinary incontinence.

publication date

  • November 2003

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