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Urinary incontinence in home care: a representative multicenter study on prevalence, severity, impact on quality of life, and risk factors

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The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence and severity of urinary incontinence and associated factors in patients receiving home care nursing service.


From June to September 2015, a multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted in 923 patients from 102 home care services throughout Germany. The ICIQ-SF was used to determine the characteristics of UI and its impact on QoL. To determine the risks for UI, demographic and social risks, the Barthel Index and medical diagnoses were determined in descriptive and logistic regression analysis.


The prevalence of UI was 62.5% (95% CI 59.3–65.6). The most common reasons for UI were before getting to the toilet 27.6% and when coughing or sneezing 27.3%. If the amount of leakage was medium (high), the mean of the impact on QoL was 4.9, SD 2.7 (5.0, SD 3.6). If the frequency of UI was higher than once a day (permanent), the mean of the impact on QoL was 4.2, SD 2.7 (4.8, SD 3.2). The results of the logistic regression analysis show the highest odds ratios for mobility—inability to walk (4.49), presence of dementia (2.59), and female sex (1.81). The metric variables age (1.02), Barthel Index (0.93), and BMI (1.05) were also statistically significant.


The prevalence of UI in home care in Germany is high. Since UI is strongest associated with (im-) mobility, preserving or regaining patients’ mobility should play a central role in providing care to avoid/minimize UI.

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We are grateful for the correction of the English language by Sarah Stacy and Katharina Lux and like to express our gratefulness to the participating home care services and clients who supported this study.

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NL and RS have made substantial contributions to the conception, study design, data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript preparation. The final version of the publication was accepted by both authors.

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Correspondence to Nils Axel Lahmann.

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Conflict of interest

We hereby declare that none of the contributing authors have any conflict of interest, including specific financial interests or relationships and affiliations relevant to the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript.

Human and animal rights

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Suhr, R., Lahmann, N.A. Urinary incontinence in home care: a representative multicenter study on prevalence, severity, impact on quality of life, and risk factors. Aging Clin Exp Res 30, 589–594 (2018).

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