Managing fecal incontinence: self-care practices of older adults.

Donna Z Bliss, Lucy Rose Fischer, Kay Savik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Little is known about the ways in which community-dwelling elderly individuals manage fecal incontinence (FI) in their daily lives. In this study, community-dwelling elderly individuals were surveyed at clinics of a health maintenance organization (HMO) to describe the self-care practices used to manage FI and to examine factors that influenced the number of self-care practices used and the reporting of FI to a health care practitioner. Responses of 242 elderly individuals who reported that they had FI several times per year were analyzed. The self-care practices used most commonly were changing diet, wearing a sanitary pad/brief, and reducing activity or exercise. Elderly women and those with a greater severity of FI and more chronic health problems engaged in more self-care practices. Factors associated with reporting FI to a clinician were considering FI to be a problem, uncertainty about the cause of FI, and changing diet to avoid FI. There is a need to promote effective management strategies for FI to older individuals living in the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of gerontological nursing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


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