Research Programme

Facilitating Continence

Facilitating continence in people living with dementia in acute ward settings: what the evidence says

People living with dementia (PLWD) are at significant risk of developing urinary and/or faecal incontinence. They are also at risk of being of being functionally incontinent or labelled as incontinent because they have a diagnosis of dementia. The numbers of people who are living with a diagnosis of dementia is growing year on year and this results in an increase in the number of patients with dementia on most acute wards (at least 25%).

Little is known about the appropriate management, organisation and interactional strategies for PLWD following a hospital admission. We synthesised data from our mixed methods systematic review and identified three themes.

Select a theme below to learn more:

Overarching synthesis with CERqual and GRADE can be found on pages 16 & 17 of the systematic review.

Ostaszkiewicz [86] emphasises that “Communicating therapeutically about incontinence with any person, including people with dementia, involves the demonstration of warmth, compassion and humanity” ([86], p. 523). This is a skill that requires both clinical knowledge and interpersonal and communication skills, which should all be included within education programs [87]. Both formal caregivers and family carers would benefit from such programs, which would also enable the development of “empathetic understanding” ([86] p. 8) to the emotions that a PLWD has in response to incontinence and its care [86]