Effectiveness and costs of a new framework for selecting absorbent urinary incontinence products compared with current practice: a cohort study

Miranda C. Schreuder, Henk van der Worp*, Beate Balkestein, Alec Gga Malmberg, Tine van den Bos, Janny H. Dekker, Michiel R. de Boer, Karin M. Vermeulen, Marco H. Blanker

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives To improve continence care in the Netherlands, a new framework has been developed in which a shift has been made from incontinence severity as the sole criterion for selecting incontinence products to a focus on patient need for daily life activities. The impact of the framework on daily care has not been assessed. We aimed to compare treatment effectiveness and costs between participants who did and did not undergo re-evaluation according to the new framework. Design Cohort study Setting Twelve pharmacies in the Netherlands Participants Existing users of absorbent incontinence materials for urinary incontinence. Interventions Participants were offered the option to have their incontinence products re-evaluated within the new framework at their pharmacy. Primary and secondary outcome measures Effectiveness and cost outcomes were assessed at 3 and 6 months through questionnaires. These questionnaires included the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire (ICIQ) Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Quality of Life Module, ICIQ Urinary Incontinence Short Form, ICIQ Absorbent Pads, questions about satisfaction and the iPCQ and iMCQ. Results 303 users consented and 279 completed the baseline questionnaire. Of these participants, 72 agreed to a re-evaluation of their incontinence materials. There was a small improvement at 3 months in the re-evaluation group compared with the other group on most outcomes. However, these improvements were not clinically relevant. Moreover, these differences did not change much from 3 to 6 months. Small differences were also observed in the changes in costs, but with very wide CIs on both sides of zero (euro99.38; 95% CI -633.48 to 832.23). Conclusions The current study showed no clinically relevant effect of a newly implemented framework for selecting incontinence materials in pharmacies when compared with an existing method. Given that the study also showed no differences in effectiveness and costs, introducing the new framework in pharmacies may not lead to better incontinence care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number059654
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6-Sept-2022


  • Urinary incontinences
  • Health policy
  • Health economics
  • ICIQ


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