The involuntary loss of urine sufficient to be a problem. It may be transient (acute) or established (chronic).
Types of established urinary incontinence (UI) include:
- Stress UI: associated with activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure.
- Urge UI: associated with a strong desire to void (urgency).
- Mixed UI: a combination of stress UI and urge UI.
- Overflow UI: associated with over-distention of the bladder. May be caused by an under-active detrusor muscle or outlet obstruction.
- Functional UI: caused by non-genitourinary factors, such as cognitive or physical impairments that result in an inability for the individual to be independent in voiding.
More than 35% of older adults admitted to the hospital develop UI.
Factors that contribute to UI include medications, constipation/fecal impaction, low fluid intake, environmental barriers, diabetes mellitus. Stroke, immobility, impaired cognition, malnutrition, and depression are additional factors specific to identifying older adults at risk for UI in the hospital setting.
Complications of UI include falls, skin irritation leading to pressure ulcers, social isolation, and depression.
Adapted from Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. ConsultGeri. Internet. Accessed on September 9, 2016.