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Urinary Tract Infection in Elderly Nursing Home Residents
Nursing homes are the perfect breeding ground for developing a severe urinary tract infection. The elderly residents can't always get up to use the bathroom, and it's not uncommon for there to be a lack of attention paid to hygiene in these long-term care facilities.
Was your loved one living in a nursing home the victim of a urinary tract infection (UTI) that led to severe complications or wrongful death? At the Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our nursing home abuse attorneys can provide legal advocacy to stop nursing home abuse now.
Call our personal injury law firm at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Let us begin working on your family's behalf to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve for the nursing home's negligence.
National Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Studies
A study by the National Institute of Health of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on UTIs in nursing homes said that a quarter-million cases occur annually.
Overuse of antibiotics must be avoided when treating pyuria or asymptomatic bacteriuria.
The study indicated that older adults' urinary tract infections (UTIs) should be treated as a significant health risk, especially for men with urinary catheters and condom catheters. A UTI could lead to antibiotic resistance, increased healthcare costs, and more extended hospital stays in some cases.
Following Nursing Home Infection Prevention Protocols
The study suggested that all nursing home patients have an indwelling catheter for no more than five days. Nursing homes should also have protocols for when it's time for a resident to be taken off their indwelling catheter, and they should stock single-use catheters as a backup.
The more attention nursing homes pay to infection protocol, the better off they will be. Infection control efforts should start with leadership at the nursing home facility and work their way down.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections in Nursing Home Residents?
Nursing home residents developing a UTI are often victims of improper care when the nursing home fails to follow infection prevention protocol, or staff does not change catheters or diapers regularly, leading to an increased risk that bacteria will grow and cause an infection in the urinary system.
Other causes of urinary tract infections may include:
- The nursing home fails to monitor specific antibiotics given to the resident
- Ileostomy bags being left too long before emptying
- Incontinence pads are not being changed often enough
- Residents are not drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated
- Physical restraints have been used for too long, leaving patients unable to use the bathroom when necessary
- Nursing home residents might not urinate often enough
What are the Symptoms of a UTI?
Urinary tract infections are common among women but can happen to anyone. Symptoms of a UTI include burning during urination, pain in the lower abdomen or groin area, and a frequent urge to pee. You must see your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms for more than two days.
Common symptoms of a UTI in a nursing home resident include:
- Fever and chills
- Burning or pain when urinating
- Cloudy urine
- Increased urinary frequency
- Strong-smelling urine
- Urine that is darker and looks like coffee, tea, or cola
- Nausea and vomiting
- Residual urine (possible lower UTI)
- Lower back pain
- Suprapubic pain
- New or increased incontinence
- Positive urine culture
- Urinary retention in patients with indwelling urinary catheters
Urine cultures diagnose a urinary tract infection in the elderly. It is crucial to determine which type of bacteria has caused the infection and what specific antibiotic will work best for killing the bacteria so the resident can start their treatment as soon as possible.
For example, a bladder infection is typically caused by Escherichia coli (E.coli). An untreated UTI can lead to life-threatening sepsis.
How to Identify Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a common bacterial infection affecting the bladder and urethra. Did you experience any of these signs and symptoms listed below? If so, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible for treatment of suspected urinary tract infections (UTIs) if you experience:
- Pain while urinating
- A constant need to urinate but being unable to do so
- Cloudy urine with an unusual odor
- Blood in your urine or difficulty passing urine
Other helpful interventions include pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) and sleeping well each night. In addition, the staff in nursing homes must follow established UTI prevention protocols to avoid recurrent severe infections in the urinary system.
Managing Urinary Tract Infections | Prophylactic Agents for UTIs
Most commonly diagnosed infections do not lead to severe complications. However, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent future occurrences. This drug can kill the bacteria causing the common infection.
The doctor may also prescribe prophylactic agents medications after a systematic review to be taken regularly to prevent urinary tract infections. Depending on the specified type, these are usually given in pill form and are taken over several weeks or months.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infections by Staying Hydrated
Your doctor may suggest you keep track of your loved one's fluid intake to determine whether they're drinking enough water to avoid UTIs. As people age, it's common for their bladders to lose muscle tone (they don't hold as much urine), making them more likely to develop a UTI.
By monitoring how frequently your loved one urinates, you can determine if they're getting enough fluids. If they're urinating every two or three hours, it's too much urine for their bladder to handle.
So, what is important to remember about UTIs? First, of course, it is crucial to know how to prevent urinary tract infections from occurring.
UTI Prevention Steps
Do you suspect your loved one suffered a UTI in a nursing home? If so, call their doctor immediately to receive supportive therapy and antimicrobial prescriptions to treat the disease and avoid septic shock.
And finally, know the signs of a suspected UTI to identify whether or not your loved one is suffering from this health issue. Any inaction by the medical team to identify infectious diseases, take a urine sample, or notice antimicrobial resistance might be considered nursing home abuse.
People at Greatest Risk of Developing a Urinary Tract Infection in a Nursing Home
According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), indwelling urinary catheter use is another risk factor for a UTI.
Urinary tract infections in nursing homes are not usually due to a bladder problem like an overactive bladder or urinary incontinence. Urinary tract infections may develop from the following factors:
- Chronic lack of physical activity and exercise in nursing homes
- Being confined to bed for long periods so that getting up frequently to move about or use the bathroom is not possible
- Lack of mental stimulation (often found in people with severe dementia)
- Nerve damage or paralysis can lead to a blockage in the urinary tract
- Urinary catheter use, including indwelling catheters (IUCs), is also a risk factor for developing a UTI
It is essential to ensure your loved one is receiving adequate care. It might be nursing home abuse if they are developing UTIs with an alarming frequency.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Resolve a Urinary Tract Infection Compensation Case
Did your loved one develop a severe urinary tract infection caused by the nursing staff's negligence? Was their UTI the result of chlamydia, Escherichia coli (E. coli), or mycoplasma bacteria entering their urethra, leading to an infection of the kidneys, bladder, urethra, ureters, or another portion of the urinary system?
At the Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for patients who have suffered nursing home abuse from their medical staff or other older adults.
Call our legal team at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law office remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our lawyers accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This promise ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury verdict.