The nursing and medical literature on urinary incontinence from 1850 to 1976 was reviewed to provide a historic perspective on care patterns before the current surge in interest in this common condition. Relevant nursing and medical journals and a number of textbooks from both fields were systematically examined to document the evolution of treatments and practices regarding urinary incontinence. Throughout the article, findings are examined in light of the broader historical context to reveal how and why practices were favored or disfavored at given times during the years under investigation. As expected, attitudes, values, and practices in the field reflected the state of knowledge and beliefs commonly held by nurses, physicians, and the general population.
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Copyright © 1997 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society