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Identifying Continence Options after Stroke (ICONS) – findings published

Date: 18 March 2015

Urinary incontinence following acute stroke is common, affecting between 40 percent and 60 percent of people in hospital. National audit data suggest incontinence is often poorly managed. In Cochrane systematic reviews, conservative interventions (e.g. bladder training and prompted voiding) have been shown to have some effect, however their effectiveness had not been demonstrated with stroke patients.

An NIHR-funded Programme Grant for Applied Research, which aimed to develop, implement and conduct a preliminary evaluation of a systematic voiding programme for the management of urinary incontinence after stroke in a feasibility trial, has published its findings.

The research conducted by Professor Caroline Watkins, Dr Lois Thomas, and the ICONS team suggests a systematic voiding programme including behavioural interventions could improve urinary incontinence in adults. Barriers to continence promotion included staff motivation, education and conflicting work priorities; enablers included staff education, adequate staffing and experience of success.

Professor Watkins said: “Promoting continence after stroke is a fundamental component of stroke unit care. It is a key priority for people who have had a stroke and their carers and can determine whether people return to their own home. Our research shows how increasing clinical staff confidence, knowledge and skills in assessing and managing continence through a structured programme of continence care could make it more likely that people recover continence after stroke. These interventions could help maintain people’s dignity and enhance their quality of life after stroke.”

Read the full report in Programme Grants for Applied Research