ABSTRACT Urinary incontinence is a multi-factorial condition that has a high impact on older persons living in nursing homes. While urinary incontinence is common, only a small percentage of nursing home residents have an official diagnosis. Factors influencing urinary incontinence in this population are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of urinary incontinence in Norwegian nursing home residents and to study the factors associated with urinary incontinence in this population. Residents from six different nursing homes were included in this study. Data on sex, age, medication, comorbid illnesses, urinary incontinence and the use of absorbent pads was collected. Barthel`s Index of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) was used to estimate residents’ functional levels. Post-voiding residual urine was measured by means of a portable ultrasound. A questionnaire was completed by the nursing staff for each of the residents. In total, 173 residents participated in the study. One hundred and twenty-two residents (69%) were incontinent for urine and 144 used absorbent pads (83%). Fourteen percent of residents used absorbent pads ‘just to make sure’. They did not have a history of urinary incontinence. Low ADL score, dementia and urinary tract infection were significantly associated with incontinence for urine. The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Norwegian nursing homes is high. Absorbent products are frequently used without a history of urinary incontinence. Physical impairment, dementia and urinary tract infections are significantly associated with urinary incontinence.
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