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2006 Grant - Calkins
Environmental Modifications to Improve Continence in Homes, Assisted-Living Units and Nursing Homes
Margaret P. Calkins, Ph.D.
2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Urinary incontinence is a significant healthcare problem that results in stress for affected individuals and complicates care management for family and professional caregivers. It is especially prevalent among people with cognitive deficits. Incontinence may not necessarily be related to a physical cause but to deficits in perception, memory, task planning or spatial orientation.
Previous studies have shown that relatively simple changes, such as adjusting the design and color scheme of bathrooms in residential care facilities, may lead to improvements in urinary control and toilet use.
Margaret Calkins, Ph.D., and colleagues are studying whether changes in bathroom designs can improve urinary control and toilet use among people with different levels of dementia living at home, in assisted-living units and in nursing homes. Changes in designs will include (1) high color contrast between the toilet and floor, (2) high color contrast between the toilet and walls and (3) increased visibility of the toilet from outside the bathroom by replacing doors with curtains. These changes will be made incrementally to enable the research team to determine which environmental element, or combination of elements, is most effective.
The researchers plan to share findings from their investigation with government agencies for older adults, nonprofit agencies that serve older adults and care facilities, architectural and interior design associations, and chapters of the Alzheimer's Association.