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Urinary Tract Infections

Description of Urinary Tract Infections

The risk of contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs) is a widespread problem among nursing home residents.  Older individuals who are catheterized, immobilized or dehydrated are at an increased risk of contracting a UTI.  Studies show that up to 40% of elderly patients living in nursing homes will contract a UTI.

Their heightened risk can be attributed to natural consequences of aging, but commonly is a result of dehydration.  The staff also increases the likelihood of their patients contracting a UTI by failing to remove used catheters or by inserting used ones that have not been sterilized.  In both instances, bacteria will grow, making their patients more susceptible to contracting a UTI.

Prevention starts with the health care provider.  Keeping patients adequately hydrated is key.  All urinary catheters should be placed in a sterile fashion because failure to use a sterile technique can result in a UTI.  Routine care of the indwelling catheter must include daily cleaning and cleaning the area thoroughly after all bowel movements to prevent infection.

How to Treat UTIs

UTIs are treated with antibiotics.  Most elderly women should be treated with antibiotics for 10 days and elderly men for 14 days.

The best ways to prevent UTIs is to empty the bladder regularly and to drink enough fluids.  In addition, nursing home staff should make sure that their residents maintain good hygiene.  Once a patient has contracted a UTI, it is important to find the cause of the problem early in order to treat it and to prevent the infection from spreading and becoming more serious.

If the patient has suffered a UTI as a result of nursing home neglect, report the incident to Adult Protective Services (APS) who will investigate the complaint.  A list of Adult Protective Services’ contact information organized by California counties is provided here.

You can also contact your local ombudsman.  You can call their Crisis line at 1-800-231-4024 or visit the California Department of Aging website for a list of county ombudsman phone numbers in California.

What Causes UTIs?

Spread of infections is a common risk in nursing homes due to the close living quarters, sanitation issues and the depleting health of its residents.  UTIs in particular are prevalent in nursing homes due to neglect.  They can occur when residents must wait too long to be escorted to the restroom, when nursing home employees fail to clean or change their residents’ catheters as needed or can result from dehydration.

Contact York Law Firm

If your loved one has been neglected and, as a result, contracted a UTI, you may be entitled to recovery.  Contact an attorney at York Law Firm to determine the strength of your potential case. We invite you to contact our practice or fill out a free case evaluation.

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