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UTIs may be hard to diagnose in nursing home residents

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2020 | Long-term Care Facility Neglect |

If you have an elderly loved one who requires in-depth care, moving him or her into a nursing home may be a wise approach. Choosing the right facility is only part of the equation, though. You must also ensure your loved one is receiving appropriate care for his or her age and medical needs. 

Nursing home professionals should be able to identify the symptoms of urinary tract infections, as many elderly individuals are susceptible to them. Unfortunately, however, a UTI may appear to be dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or another serious neurological condition. 

What is a UTI?

A UTI is simply an infection of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder and urethra. In women, a UTI may also affect the uterus. The urinary tract may develop an infection if bacteria moves into the urethra. 

Because of incontinence, many nursing home residents have some risk of developing a UTI. Those who wear absorbent, disposable underwear may develop frequent UTIs. To minimize UTI risk to nursing home residents, care providers should prioritize cleanliness. 

How do misdiagnoses happen?            

While UTIs are usually treatable with antibiotics, nursing home professionals may misdiagnose the condition. With older residents, UTIs may cause confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, agitation or withdrawal. These symptoms, of course, align closely with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. 

To avoid misdiagnosing a UTI as something neurological, nurses at facility should carefully monitor patients. If neurological decline happens quickly, a UTI may be the appropriate diagnosis. Sadly, if nursing home professionals do not diagnose a UTI correctly and quickly, they may neglect to provide your elderly loved one with the care he or she needs to recover completely.