Efficacy of Behavioral Interventions for Urinary Incontinence among Women Residing in Nursing Homes: A Systematic Review

Lindsay M. Allen, Chelsea Nalley, Alison R. Devries, Steve R. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize recent evidence on the efficacy of behavioral interventions for the management of urinary incontinence (UI) among women in nursing homes. METHODS: Systematic review of the literature. For this review, behavioral interventions were defined as those that included some form of physical exercise or behavior modification such as scheduled toileting. SEARCH STRATEGY: A search of MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, and Cochrane Library electronic databases was conducted seeking randomized controlled trials published since 2010 in female participants residing in long-term care facilities (nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities) and diagnosed with UI. Inclusion criteria were studies that addressed the effects of voiding regimens, lower extremity strengthening, functional training, food and fluid management, and pelvic floor muscle training. Independent reviewers extracted relevant data and assessed methodological quality using the PEDro scale. FINDINGS: Five studies (pooled sample, N = 399) met inclusion criteria; mean age of participants was 81.1 ± 6.8 years; 85% were female. The PEDro scores ranged from 6 to 9; only 2 studies included residents with cognitive impairment. Interventions included voiding strategies, increasing physical activity, functional mobility training, pelvic floor muscle training, fluid management, and multicomponent combinations of approaches. Three of the 5 studies were multicomponent interventions and 2 focused on a single intervention. Outcomes included objective measures of incontinent episodes and subjective assessments of UI severity. CONCLUSIONS: Behaviorally based interventions can be successful in improving UI among nursing residents with and with no cognitive impairment. IMPLICATIONS: Future studies should examine logistic and labor costs associated with sustaining behavioral interventions using nursing home staff and investigate the effects of these therapies using appropriate quality-of-life metrics for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Behavioral interventions
  • Nursing homes
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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