Toward a National Health Information Infrastructure: A Key Strategy for Improving Quality in Long-Term Care. Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine significant enough to be considered a problem.35 Estimates are that 50% or more of persons in long-term care facilities are affected by incontinence, reflecting the role of incontinence as a cause of institutionalization. Incontinence is associated with skin breakdown, activity limitation, social isolation, and depression.36 Because incontinence can be reversed or improved for up to half of nursing home residents, a high prevalence of incontinence suggests poor care.18

Because of the types of evaluations required in determining the cause of incontinence, relevant documentation is typically found in many different sections of clinical records (e.g., history and physical, nursing notes, laboratory reports), and those data are typically recorded by persons in a variety of health care disciplines.

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