Likelihood of Nursing Home Referral for Fecally Incontinent Elderly Patients is Influenced by Physician Views on Nursing Home Care and Outpatient Management of Fecal Incontinence

Kirsten A. Nyrop, Madhusudan Grover, Olafur S. Palsson, Steve Heymen, Mary H. Palmer, Patricia S. Goode, William E. Whitehead, Jan Busby-Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: (1) Characterize physicians' management practices for fecal incontinence (FI) among elderly patients, (2) describe physician perceptions of the quality of care for FI provided in nursing homes (NH), and (3) identify physician views and attributes associated with referral of elderly patients with FI to an NH. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: United States. Participants: Physician members of the American Geriatrics Society. Measurements: Questionnaire pertaining to physician views on (1) their own FI management practices, (2) management of FI in NHs, and (3) referral of an elderly patient with FI to an NH. Results: Of the respondents (n = 606), 54.1% reported screening for FI and 59.3% thought FI could be managed conservatively on an outpatient basis. Only 32.9% believed NHs provide good care for FI, and 27.1% believed NH care conditions exacerbate FI. Responding to a hypothetical vignette, 10.6% would probably or definitely refer an older adult patient with only FI to an NH, and 17.2% were uncertain about whether or not to refer. Logistic regression analysis identified physician characteristics associated with decreased likelihood of NH referral as the belief that FI can be managed conservatively, the belief that NHs provide poor care for FI, longer practice experience, and practicing in an academic medical center. Conclusion: Most geriatricians believe FI can be managed conservatively and that NHs provide poor care for FI. These beliefs plus longer years of practice and practice in an academic setting decrease the likelihood of referral to NH for patients with FI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-354
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2012



  • Fecal incontinence
  • Nursing home admissions
  • Physician perspectives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy

Cite this