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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 1215746, 12 pages
Research Article

Constipation and Laxative Use among Nursing Home Patients: Prevalence and Associations Derived from the Residents Assessment Instrument for Long-Term Care Facilities (interRAI LTCF)

1Faculty of Health and Social Science, Department of Nursing Science, University College of Sør-Trøndelag, Postboks 2320, 7004 Trondheim, Norway
2Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Postboks 8905, MTFS, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
3King’s College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, 57 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK
4St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Clinical Service, Postboks 3250 Sluppen, 7006 Trondheim, Norway
5St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Department of Cardiology and Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Postboks 3250 Sluppen, 7006 Trondheim, Norway
6Faculty of Medicine, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Postboks 8905, 7491 Trondheim, Norway

Received 4 September 2015; Accepted 2 November 2015

Academic Editor: Paul Enck

Copyright © 2016 Lene Elisabeth Blekken et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Constipation is a common, bothersome, and potentially dangerous condition among nursing home (NH) patients. Between 50 and 74% of NH patients use laxatives. Objective. To study prevalence and associations of laxative use and constipation using the comprehensive Norwegian version of the Resident Assessment Instrument for Long-Term Care Facilities. Methods. Cross-sectional study. Patients from 20 NH units were included. Logistic regression was used to analyze the results. Data collected in NHs might be clustered. Consequently, the multivariable models were tested against a mixed effects regression model to investigate variance both on the level of patients and on the level of NH units. Results. In all, 261 patients were included. The prevalence of constipation was 23.4%, and 67.1% used laxatives regularly. Balance problems, urinary incontinence, hypothyroidism, and Parkinson’s disease were associated with constipation. Reduced ability to communicate and number of drugs were associated with laxative use. Antidementia-drugs and being involved in activities 1/3 to 2/3 of daytime were protective factors for laxative use. Mixed effects analyses identified variance on the level of NH units as nonsignificant. Conclusion. Constipation and laxative use are common. Variance is mainly explained by different patient characteristics/health deficiencies. Hence, patients might benefit from individualized care to compensate for deficiencies.