Cost consequence analysis of transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (TTNS) for urinary incontinence in care home residents alongside a randomised controlled trial

Linda Fenocchi*, Helen Mason, Lisa Macaulay, Catriona O'Dolan, Shaun Treweek, Joanne Booth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Urinary incontinence (UI) is prevalent in more than half of residents of nursing and residential care homes and can have a detrimental impact on dignity and quality of life. Care homes predominantly use absorbent pads to contain UI rather than actively treat the condition. Transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (TTNS) is a non-invasive, safe, low-cost intervention with demonstrated effectiveness for reducing UI in adults. We examined the costs and consequences of delivering TTNS to care home residents in comparison to sham (inactive) electrical stimulation.

Methods: A cost consequence analysis approach was used to assemble and present the resource use and outcome data for the ELECTRIC trial which randomised 406 residents with UI from 37 care homes in the United Kingdom to receive 12 sessions of 30 minutes of either TTNS or sham (inactive) TTNS. TTNS was administered by care home staff over 6 weeks. Health state utility was measured using DEMQOL-U and DEMQOL-PROXY-U at baseline, 6 weeks and 18 weeks follow-up. Staff completed a resource use questionnaire at baseline, 6 weeks and 18 weeks follow-up, which also assessed use of absorbent pads.

Results: HRQoL did not change significantly in either randomised group. Delivery of TTNS was estimated to cost £81.20 per participant, plus training and support costs of £121.03 per staff member. 85% of participants needed toilet assistance as routine, on average requiring one or two staff members to be involved 4 or 5 times in each 24 hours. Daily use of mobility aids and other assistive devices to use the toilet were reported. The value of staff time to assist residents to use the toilet (assuming an average of 5 minutes per resident per visit) was estimated as £19.17 (SD 13.22) for TTNS and £17.30 (SD 13.33) for sham (per resident in a 24-hour period).

Conclusions: Use of TTNS to treat UI in care home residents did not lead to changes in resource use, particularly any reduction in the use of absorbent pads and no cost benefits for TTNS were shown. Managing continence in care homes is labour intensive, requiring both high levels of staff time and use of equipment aids.
Original languageEnglish
Article number766
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2023


  • economic evaluation
  • cost consequence analysis
  • care homes
  • urinary incontinence
  • tibial nerve stimulation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Tibial nerve stimulation
  • Economic evaluation
  • Cost consequence analysis
  • Care homes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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