Habit retraining for the management of urinary incontinence in adults

J Ostaszkiewicz, T Chestney, Brenda Roe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


    BACKGROUND: Habit retraining is toileting assistance given by a caregiver to adults with urinary incontinence. It involves the identification of an incontinent person's natural voiding pattern and the development of an individualised toileting schedule which pre-empts involuntary bladder emptying. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of habit retraining for the management of urinary incontinence in adults. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group specialised register (9 May 2002), MEDLINE (January 1966 to December 2002), EMBASE (January 1980 to Week 18 2002), CINAHL (January 1982 to February 2001), PsycINFO (January 1972 to current), Biological Abstracts (January 1980 to December 2000), Current Contents (January 1993 to December 2001) and the reference lists of relevant articles. We also contacted experts in the field, searched relevant websites and hand searched journals and conference proceedings. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing habit retraining delivered either alone or in conjunction with another intervention for urinary incontinence in adults. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data extraction and quality assessment were undertaken by at least two people working independently of each other. Any differences were resolved by discussion. The relative risks for dichotomous data were calculated with 95% confidence intervals. Where data were insufficient for a quantitative analysis, a narrative overview was undertaken. MAIN RESULTS: Three trials with a total of 337 participants met the inclusion criteria, describing habit retraining combined with other approaches compared with usual care. Participants were primarily care-dependent elderly women with concurrent cognitive and/or physical impairment, residing in either a residential aged-care facility or in their own home. Outcomes included incidence and/or severity of urinary incontinence, the prevalences of urinary tract infection, skin rash and skin breakdown, cost and caregiver preparedness, role strain and burden. Caregivers found it difficult to maintain voiding records and to implement the toileting program. A 61% compliance rate was reported in one trial. There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence and in the volume of incontinence between groups. Within group analyses did however show improvements on these measures. Reductions were also reported for the intervention group in one study for skin rash, skin breakdown and in caregivers' perceptions of their level of stress. Descriptive data on the intervention suggests that habit retraining is a labour-intense activity. Electronic loggers, used as an adjunct to caregiver-delivered wet/dry checks, were reported as providing more accurate data than that from caregiver conducted wet/dry checks. To date, no analysis of the time and resources associated with these comparisons is available. REVIEWERS' CONCLUSIONS: Data on habit retraining are few and of insufficient quality to provide a firm basis for practice
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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