Sue O’Hara, RN, MScN, ACNP, GNC(C), Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist, Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Josephs Health Care London, Parkwood Hospital, London, ON.; Michael J. Borrie, BSc, MB, ChB, FRCPC, Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON.
Urinary incontinence is a significant problem in older women. Prevalence rates vary from 4.5–44% in healthy older women and increase to 22–90% in patients in long-term care facilities. Canadian Continence Guidelines have recently been developed to assist patients and health care professionals in assessment, treatment and follow-up of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence can be treated successfully, improved or better managed in most patients. Treatment falls into four major categories: behavioural, pharmacologic, surgical and supportive measures. Education, the key to effectively addressing the needs of women with incontinence, is aimed at the patient and/or their caregiver, as well as health care professionals.
Key words: urinary incontinence, older women, assessment, treatment, Canadian Continence Guidelines.