Newswise — CHICAGO (November 21, 2017): The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) unveiled six evidence-based algorithms and additional tools as a standardized guide for continence care at the 2017 annual meeting in Seattle, WA earlier this month. Author and project lead, Christine Cave, DNP NP-C CRRN EP-C, shared the tools and explained how the entire interdisciplinary team can use them to easily apply best practices to problem-solve the continence needs of their patients.

The development of the clinical tools was prompted by a need to provide standardized education, and policies and procedures on continence care for rehabilitation as well as other nursing care programs. Over a nine-month period, a task force reviewed 10 years of bowel and bladder management research. The result was the development of six algorithms, a detailed drawing of the Central Nervous System Controls of Bowel and Bladder Function to guide understanding of underlying pathophysiology, a Financial Impact Tool to estimate costs of poor incontinence/constipation management and a 24-Hour Frequency Volume Chart. The following are included in the algorithms:

  • General Assessment of Bladder
  • General Assessment of Bowel Function
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Voiding Dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea or Fecal incontinence

These tools are aimed to institute a higher-quality care standard for nurses who implement strategies to establish continence.

When asked why she was compelled to spearhead this effort, Christine responded, “Rehabilitation nurses everywhere want to provide the best care in the most timely manner when it comes to bowel and bladder management. Yet many nurses have struggled to establish effective management plans early enough during the patient's stay due to a lack of evidence-based education and use of standards or protocols in rehabilitation settings. This booklet is intended to assist the entire interdisciplinary team with identifying the need for improvement of care along with supportive tools to make the necessary changes to raise the bar for better bowel and bladder management.”

All of the tools are now available for purchase in booklet and poster format on the ARN website in the Bookstore. More information is available at


Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN)

ARN is a professional healthcare association dedicated to promoting and advancing professional rehabilitation nursing practice through education, advocacy, collaboration, and research to enhance the quality of life for those affected by disability and chronic illness in a multitude of settings.

For more information about ARN, please visit or call 800.229.7530.