The scary truth about urinary tract infections in long term care setting
Have you noticed that when mama gets a UTI, she gets confused? She feels weak, sleepy and has no energy?
Have you also noticed that when she gets the right antibiotic, drinks more water, she feels better in a few days?
According to the National Institute of Health, “most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and then the bladder. The infection most commonly develops in the bladder, but can spread to the kidneys. Most of the time, your body can get rid of these bacteria. However, certain conditions increase the risk of having UTIs.
Women tend to get them more often because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus than in men. Because of this, women are more likely to get an infection after sexual activity or when using a diaphragm for birth control. Menopause also increases the risk of a UTI.
The following also increase your chances of developing a UTI:
- Advanced age and conditions that affect personal care habits (such as Alzheimer’s disease anddelirium)
- Problems emptying the bladder completely
- Having a urinary catheter
- Bowel incontinence
- Enlarged prostate, narrowed urethra, or anything that blocks the flow of urine
- Kidney stones
- Staying still (immobile) for a long period of time (for example, while you are recovering from a hip fracture)
- Surgery or other procedure involving the urinary tract
The symptoms of a bladder infection include:
- Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor
- Low fever in some people
- Pain or burning with urination
- Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen or back
- Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied
If the infection spreads to your kidneys, symptoms may include:
- Chills and shaking or night sweats
- Fatigue and a general ill feeling
- Fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pain in the side, back, or groin
- Flushed, warm, or reddened skin
- Mental changes or confusion (in the elderly, these symptoms often are the only signs of a UTI)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Very bad abdominal pain (sometimes)”
Suffice it to say, urinary tract infections can be dangerous in elderly patients. They can cause death.
If you think your loved one looks different, is acting different, doesn’t feel well — it may be a UTI. Call the doctor and let him/her know about all of the changes