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Incontinence more likely in dementia patients

People with dementia are far more likely to develop incontinence than those without, a large-scale study has discovered. 

Patients with dementia and incontinence were also more likely to receive incontinence medications and indwelling catheters. 

Published in PLOS Medicine, the research analysed 250,000 patients primary care records. 

The study by Kingston University and St George's University of London found that people with dementia experience three times the rate of diagnosis for urinary incontinence and more than four times the rate of fecal incontinence than those without dementia. 

Lead author Robert Grant said: “Incontinence is a common problem for people living with dementia in the community. They need good quality services, including advice and support for carers managing incontinence. With an ageing population, providers and planners of dementia services should anticipate high levels of need.

“Some aspects of clinical management of urinary incontinence are different for patients with dementia compared with those without. Further study is required to understand the clinical reasoning of health care practitioners providing care for this population, particularly in the use of indwelling catheters, given the known risks.”

The study is available to view on the PLOS Medicine website