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Symposium highlights the important role of nurses in managing urinary incontinence

The prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) is rising. Half of older adults in nursing homes and 13 to 56 percent of homebound elders suffer from UI. Yet, progress in the clinical management of UI has stalled. For instance, nursing research provides ample evidence that noninvasive toileting programs, such as bladder retraining or prompted voiding, can be effective in nursing homes and other long-term care settings. Yet, clinicians in these settings remain unfamiliar with the research and, for the most part, don't use innovative techniques.

A July 2002 symposium sponsored in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS12088), "State of the Science on Urinary Incontinence," challenged nurses to lead the way in managing UI and promoting continence. The goal of the symposium was to analyze UI research and current UI management practices and to develop recommendations for research, practice, education, and public policy. The symposium brought together leading nurse researchers, clinicians, educators, administrators, and industry stakeholders.

The following papers highlight symposium issues and are published, along with an executive summary, a concluding discussion, and recommendations, in the March 2003 American Journal of Nursing 3 (supplement), pp. 1-58 (available online at or from AJN Reprints at (215) 521-8560; "The state of the science on urinary incontinence," by D.K. Newman, M.H. Palmer (Eds.).

Individual papers are as follows:

  • Mason, D.J., Newman, D.K., and Palmer, M.H., "Changing UI practice," pp. 2-3.
  • Sampselle, C.M., "Behavioral interventions in young and middle-age women," pp. 9-19.
  • Gray, M.L., "Gender, race, and culture in research on UI," pp. 20-25.
  • Wyman, J.F., "Treatment of urinary incontinence in men and older women," pp. 26-35.
  • Lekan-Rutledge, D., and Colling, J., "Urinary incontinence in the frail elderly," pp. 36-46.

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