Objective: To calculate the proportion of nursing home admissions of the elderly that is attributable to urinary incontinence (UI).
Methods: The fraction of nursing home admissions attributable to UI was computed from published values for the prevalence of UI and relative risks corrected for variables independently associated with nursing home admission.
Results: The attributable fraction of nursing home admissions due to UI in the elderly population was 0.10 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.08–0.13) for men and 0.06 (95% CI 0.05–0.09) for women. Extrapolation to the US population in 2000 suggests an annualized cost of nursing home admissions due to UI of $6.0 billion ($3.0 billion each for elderly men and women).
Conclusions: The estimates of the fraction of nursing home admissions attributable to UI exceed those previously assumed and show an imbalance between the sexes. Policies that support reimbursement for treatments of UI in the community might help prevent or delay institutionalization and offset some of the costs.