Changes in Urinary Continence After Admission to a Complex Care Setting: A Multistate Transition Model



      To examine changes in urinary continence for post-acute, Complex Continuing Care hospital patients from time of admission to short-term follow-up, either in hospital or after discharge to long-term care or home with services.


      Retrospective cohort study of patients in Complex Continuing Care hospitals using clinical data collected with interRAI Minimum Data Set 2.0 and interRAI Resident Assessment Instrument Home Care.

      Setting and Participants

      Adults aged 18 years and older, admitted to Complex Continuing Care hospitals in Ontario, Canada, between 2009 and 2015 (n = 78,913).


      A multistate transition model was used to characterize the association between patient characteristics measured at admission and changes in urinary continence state transitions (continent, sometimes continent, and incontinent) between admission and follow-up.


      The cohort included 27,896 patients. At admission, 9583 (34.3%) patients belonged to the continent state, 6441 (23.09%) patients belonged to the sometimes incontinent state, and the remaining 11,872 (42.6%) patients belonged to the incontinent state. For patients who were continent at admission, the majority (62.7%) remained continent at follow-up. However, nearly a quarter (23.9%) transitioned to the sometimes continent state, and an additional 13.4% became incontinent at follow-up. Several factors were associated with continence state transitions, including cognitive impairment, rehabilitation potential, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and hip fracture.

      Conclusions and Implications

      This study suggests that urinary incontinence is a prevalent problem for Complex Continuing Care hospital patients and multiple factors are associated with continence state transitions. Standardized assessment of urinary incontinence is helpful in this setting to identify patients in need of further assessment and patient-centered intervention and as a quality improvement metric to examine changes in continence from admission to discharge.


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