Healthcare providers' perspectives on communicating incontinence and skin damage information with patients with dementia and their family caregivers: a descriptive study

Sharon Rolnick, Donna Z. Bliss, Jody M. Jackson, Casey Arntson, Jean Mullins, Kenneth Hepburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Communication between healthcare providers and patients/family caregivers about incontinence and associated skin damage is wanting, and information about healthcare providers perspectives on improving this communication is limited. A descriptive study was conducted using semi-structured, tape-recorded interviews with 11 healthcare providers with clinical expertise in geriatrics and dementia working in a large integrated healthcare system. The survey was developed by the authors based on a review of the relevant literature with guidance from a three-member Advisory Committee and consisted of nine open-ended questions related to communication with patients and families about incontinence and skin damage. Specifically, information was obtained about providers' perspectives on the timing of inquiring about these problems, how best to tailor language and approach the topic, barriers and facilitators to discussion of incontinence, and recommendations for educational and supportive resources. Responses were analyzed using a content analysis approach. Using a purposeful sampling technique, 11 experienced healthcare professionals agreed to participate in the study. Main themes observed included: 1) incontinence issues are not routinely or voluntarily addressed by all providers, 2) caregivers are receptive to discussion if the topic is broached by patient/caregiver, and 3) main barriers to providing information include limited clinician time and patient/family caregiver embarrassment. Participant clinicians expressed interest in readily available, single-topic, printed patient/caregiver-focused educational materials to enhance patient-provider communication and serve as a resource. These materials were subsequently developed. Further research is warranted to test the effectiveness of the recommendations and the materials developed as a result of the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-67
Number of pages6
JournalOstomy/wound management
Volume59
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013

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