UTI infections, or urinary tract infections, are quite common and equally dangerous. Complicating matters is the lack of a single method to detect UTI infection in nursing homes or anywhere else.
The urinary tract includes every body part involved in the production, storage, and transportation of urine. The infection can occur anywhere from the kidneys down to the urethra where urine exits the body. The ureters that transport urine to the bladder and the bladder itself can also be sites for an infection to occur.
Urinary Tract Infection Causes
Any of the following can increase the likelihood of contracting a urinary tract infection in the elderly:
- Advanced aging complications that reduce or encumber personal care and hygiene
- Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
- Placement of a urinary catheter
- Bowel incontinence
- An enlarged prostate or narrowed urethra, or anything that reduces the flow of urine
- Kidney stones
- Being immobile for long periods of time
- Surgery or medical procedure involving the urinary tract
Elderly women are more susceptible to UTI infection than men. For women over the age of 65, about 10 percent have had a UTI during the last 12 month period, but that rate increases to 30 percent for women aged 85 or older. Men have an incident rate of only five percent over the age of 65. Women are also more likely to have a recurrence of the infection sometime in their lives.
UTI Infections Can be Avoided
Proper vigilance and diagnosis can avoid a UTI infection in the elderly or at least minimize its duration and damage. Some of the precautions for the causes listed above include:
- Proper assistance with regard to personal hygiene
- Ensuring at-risk patients urinate frequently
- Following proper sanitary precautions when placing a catheter and making sure it isn’t in too long
- Properly cleaning patients after incidents of bowel incontinence and changing adult diapers frequently
- Helping mobile patients to move frequently
- Monitoring patients after a medical procedure for symptoms of a UTI
Urinary tract infections in most cases are easy to treat and involves a regimen of antibiotics for a few weeks. However, it does require skilled medical diagnosis to first be noticed with a clean-catch urine culture or urinalysis. Too many elderly are misdiagnosed with the onset of dementia when it is really a UTI taxing their already weak immune system.
When the infection spreads to the kidneys, it can result in serious complications with extreme abdominal pain, fevers over 100 degrees and severe nausea and vomiting. These, in turn, can cause death.
If you believe a common UTI that’s easily treatable caused your loved one severe trauma and pain or resulted in his or her death, you should talk to an elder abuse attorney immediately. A misdiagnosed or delayed diagnosis of a UTI could have been avoided if the proper care was taken.
An Attorney Can Help
The attorneys at Banville Law are experienced at finding and preserving the evidence of avoidable urinary tract infections. We’ve pursued the legal rights of the elderly and their loved ones for years in UTI matters across the state. We either get a judgment or settlement for the suffering of your loved one, or you pay us nothing.