Fecal incontinence is a common problem among hospitalized patients. It predisposes them to complications such as infections and pressure ulcers, resulting in added morbidity and increased length of stay. Despite the prevalence and clinical implications of fecal incontinence, relatively few well-designed studies have been completed assisting clinicians to determine which management strategies prevent complications most effectively. This article will review the prevalence and consequences of fecal incontinence in hospitalized patients and will provide practical suggestions for the management of fecal incontinence, including both traditional care according to clinical guidelines and the role of newer fecal collection devices.
Judith Wishin, RN, BSN, CCRC, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
T. James Gallagher, MD, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Eileen McCann, RN, BSN, WOCN, Stamford Hospital, Stamford, Connecticut.
Corresponding author: Judith Wishin, RN, BSN, CCRC, PO Box 100254, Gainesville, FL 32611 (JWishin@anest.ufl.edu).