Long-term care residents and care providers in Ontario, Canada participated in a pilot qualitative study of 16 patients living with fecal incontinence and 9 of their healthcare providers in 2 long term care facilities.
Subjects were selected equally from both genders. Focus group discussion with study participants used both thematic and deductive approaches; sessions were audio-taped and transcribed for qualitative analysis. Amongst care providers there was a bimodal distribution in the self-reported levels of confidence and competence in dealing with fecal incontinence: some were very confident and competent in dealing with incontinence; others much less so.
Although all the residents interviewed, whose average age was 79, were identified by staff as experiencing fecal incontinence, less than 1 in 5 considered themselves incontinent to feces. More than half of residents did not seek care for their fecal incontinence because of embarrassment or low expectations of what could be done; those who did seek care waited for 6 months. This pilot study stresses the importance of public education, provider training, and understanding elder denial to improve the delivery of fecal incontinence services to long-term care residents.