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Poor Incontinence Care Can Deteriorate Quality of Life

Urinary and faecal incontinence are serious health problems that are detrimental to overall health and quality of life and commonly affect older adults. Both types of incontinence are prevalent among the elderly population all over the world. According to statistics, nearly 800,000 people residing in the Netherlands suffer from some level of incontinence, although the actual statistic could be greater due to reluctance to disclose such personal information and get help. It is common among people to find incontinence a difficult topic to discuss, even with a general practitioner.  One of the reasons why people may be uncomfortable talking about incontinence is because of the stigma that the health issue is associated with ageing.  It is commonly believed that there are no available treatment options for incontinence, as well, which is a myth. Often times, patients appear to have suffered from incontinence for a long duration of time prior to seeking help from a general practitioner.

Incontinence diminishes quality of life by promoting feelings of shame, lowering self-esteem, and increasing the risk of depression.  It also makes patients more vulnerable to falls and is highly associated to admission into a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, substantial evidence shows that, particularly for elderly patients, urinary incontinence care is below standard.  Thus, it is crucial that further efforts are made to ascertain that older adults are provided with the best care possible.

Due to its chronicity, along with the practical, social, and hygienic issues that are experienced by older adults with urinary incontinence come high expenses for health care and society.  The economic expenses of incontinence material, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, physiotherapy, and work loss have proven to be substantial.  According to a recent report, in the year 2000, the direct and indirect expenses of urinary incontinence amounted to $19.0 billion and $.05 billion in the United States, respectively. Moreover, the direct medical expenses of urinary incontinence per inhabitant per year are very similar to those of coronary heart disease, and greater than the expenses of diabetes or refraction errors or accommodation issues.

According to a recent evidence-based article published in the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) Journal pertaining to urinary and faecal incontinence care, successfully treating incontinence could result in significantly beneficial health gains in older adult patients.

Although management of incontinence is currently below optimal standards, nursing home facilities must strive to improve the care they provide to their residents in treating incontinence issues, thereby decreasing incontinence and health care costs.  It is the obligation of the nursing staff to maintain or enhance their patients’ quality of life and overall health.

If you or a love one has resided in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility in La Habra Heights or La Mirada, California, and your suffering from incontinence has been exacerbated due to lack of quality care by staff, you may be a victim of elder abuse or neglect.  Insufficient care can be severely detrimental to the health and quality of life of elderly patients.  This failure to provide quality care is reprehensible and should not be tolerated.  Contact us immediately for a free consultation.