How serious are UTIs in nursing homes?

Residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities may be at risk for developing urinary tract infections due to poor preventive care.

Many people in West Virginia have parents, grandparents or other relatives in long-term care facilities. Whether in assisted living centers, nursing home or other types of facilities, there is a legitimate need for loved ones to be concerned about the quality of care received.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem in the United States. One form of abuse or neglect can be lack of proper care. Preventive care, as the name implies, can go a long way toward avoiding problems from developing.

Poor prevention and UTIs

Sadly, it has been discovered that many residents suffer from urinary tract infections due to lack of proper preventive care. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that as many as 30 percent of all infections contracted in long-term care facilities are urinary tract infections.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information adds that urinary tract infections are the most common form of bacterial infection that sends long-term care facility residents to the hospital. UTIs are also the second most common type of all infections among facility residents.

Diagnosing UTIs a challenge

Many elderly residents in nursing homes have dementia or other conditions that can hinder their ability to communicate symptoms to caregivers. Some people simply cannot communicate at all. This, in turn, makes it hard for UTIs to be diagnosed properly or early enough.

Risks of UTIs for elderly people

As explained by Health Day, residents who contract urinary tract infections may become dehydrated or experience delirium. This can increase their risk of falling. They may also eventually develop blood infections.

Lack of proper prevention

Some of the things that nursing homes can do to reduce the risk of UTIs in residents are relatively simple yet are not consistently done. These include cleaning urine collection bags or using portable bladder ultrasound scanners. Facilities with infection prevention professionals on staff may have a lower rate of UTIs among residents.

Despite what some may think, it is not only patients with catheters who are found to suffer from these infections, making the incident rate even more alarming. One study using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Columbia University School of Nursing estimated that more than 4,700 residents contracted UTIs in an average month.

Continual oversight is needed to keep people safe

Family members must be continually aware of the condition of their loved ones in long-term care facilities. When problems are suspected, it is important to talk with an attorney. West Virginia residents can learn a lot about their options for getting help and compensation by contacting our office for a free consultation.