It's the way you ask that matters: comparison of data relating to prevalence of incontinence aid use from two surveys of people with multiple sclerosis.

Department of General Practice, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
Journal of WOCN (Impact Factor: 1). 33(1):26-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The method used for data collection and research affects the outcomes and must be carefully considered when planning studies and when evaluating study results. This article presents the profound differences in outcomes generated by anonymous questionnaire vs face-to-face interviews. In this limited study regarding the use of incontinence aids among individuals with multiple sclerosis, the prevalence rates generated by questionnaire were 3 times the rates generated by interviews. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are addressed, and implications for research and for practice are identified.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective To investigate whether electronic continence questionnaires aid early identification and optimizes management of sphincter dysfunction in a multiple sclerosis clinic.MethodsA custom designed, tablet-based cross-platform software tool was designed to capture validated multiple sclerosis (MS) patient-reported outcomes. An unselected cohort of MS patients from a tertiary referral clinic completed electronic tablet-based versions of the Bladder Control Scale (BLCS) and the Bowel Control Scale in the waiting room. Data were captured wirelessly “on-the-fly” and stored in a deidentified, secure database; and individual questionnaire results were immediately available to the treating neurologist in the electronic medical record. Scores of ≥2 on either questionnaire generated an automated electronic referral to the clinic MS continence nurse (MS CN).ResultsOne hundred and fifty-seven MS patients completed a total of 184 electronic continence test sets and on two occasions only the BLCS was completed. An automatic electronic referral for formal continence review was generated 128 times in 108 patients. Fifty-seven formal continence assessments were undertaken by the MS CN following automated referral. All reviews resulted in at least one clinical intervention being made.InterpretationTablet-based data capture and automated continence referral using this software tool is an efficient, sensitive, and feasible method of screening MS patients for bladder and bowel dysfunction. Concordance with the results of formal continence assessment in this pilot study validates the use of this technology as a screening tool.
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