Dietary fiber nursing intervention: prevention of constipation in older adults.


Rodrigues-Fisher L, Bourguignon C, Good BV




Clin Nurs Res


Constipation is a major complaint of older adults. Approximately 30% of older adults use laxatives at least once weekly, and laxatives account for 1% of physician prescriptions in addition to approximately 700 over-the-counter preparations. This study evaluated the efficacy of a fiber and fluid nursing intervention on the maintenance of bowel movements and elimination aid withdrawal in residents of a long-term health care facility. The findings indicated that the number of bowel movements reached a peak at 3 months and returned to baseline values at the 6-month point while the use of both laxatives and stool softeners decreased significantly. Enema and suppository use was so infrequent at baseline and throughout the study that changes in these variables were statistically insignificant. The results demonstrate that a natural means of maintaining bowel movements using a fiber and fluid nursing intervention can significantly decrease the number of laxatives and stool softeners needed by residents of a long-term facility.