Feature Article

Promoting urinary continence in older people: proactive primary care




GPs and practice nurses are important primary care partners for patients with urinary incontinence, who often require care co-ordination and long-term management. Multidisciplinary care through a continence clinic may also be valuable.

Key Points

  • Primary care providers are well placed to support older people with urinary incontinence.
  • Urinary incontinence in an older person often arises because of more than one reason.
  • Some factors may be reversible while other factors are not, so a careful basic evaluation can be rewarding.
  • The management approach needs to be individualised based on the older person’s overall condition, and their wishes regarding investigations and treatments must be respected.
  • It is important to recognise when referral for specialist care is required, for example if a ‘red flag’ condition is present or first-line treatments have not resulted in improvement.

    Picture credit: © Phanie/BURGER/Medical Images
    Model used for illustrative purposes only