Prevalence of incontinence by race and ethnicity of older people admitted to nursing homes

Donna Z. Bliss, Susan Harms, Judith M. Garrard, Kristen Cunanan, Kay Savik, Olga Gurvich, Christine Mueller, Jean F. Wyman, Lynn E. Eberly, Beth Virnig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: While admissions of minorities to nursing homes (NHs) are increasing and prevalence of incontinence in NHs remains high, little is known about incontinence among racial-ethnic groups of NH admissions other than blacks. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of incontinence among older adults admitted to NHs by race/ethnicity at three levels of measurement: individual resident, NH, and Census division. Design: Cross-sectional and descriptive. Participants and Setting: Admissions of persons age 65 or older to 1 of 457 NHs of a national, for-profit chain over 3 years 2000-2002 (n = 111,640 residents). Methods: Data sources were the Minimum Data Set v. 2.0 and 2000 US Census. Prevalence of the following definitions of incontinence was analyzed: Only Urinary Incontinence (UI), Only Fecal Incontinence (FI), Dual Incontinence (DI; UI and FI), Any UI (UI with or without FI), Any FI (FI with or without UI), and Any Incontinence (UI and/or FI and/or DI). Results: Asian patients, black patients, and Hispanic patients had a higher prevalence of Any Incontinence (67%, 66%, and 58%, respectively) compared to white patients (48%) and American Indian patients (46%). At the NH level, all prevalence measures of incontinence (except Only UI) appear to trend in the opposite direction from the percentage of NH admissions who were white. Among Asian and white patients, there was a higher prevalence of all types of incontinence in men compared with women except for Only UI. Among Census divisions, the prevalence of all types of incontinence, except Only UI, was lowest in the 2 divisions with the highest percentage of white admissions to their NHs. Conclusions: NHs admitting more racial/ethnic minorities may be faced with managing more incontinence and needing additional staffing resources. The association of the prevalence of most types of incontinence with the race/ethnicity of NH admissions at all levels of measurement lend support to the growing evidence that contextual factors beyond individual resident characteristics may contribute to NH differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451.e1-451.e7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by National Institute of Nursing research, NIH , 1R01NR010731–01A2 and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute .

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ethnicity
  • Incontinence
  • Nursing homes
  • Race

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