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Posted November 17, 2017

UTI SILENT DANGER AMONG THE ELDERLY

Among the Elderly, symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection are often missing. Beware!

A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, most commonly the bladder. For most people, the need to urinate frequently and/or urgently are two key symptoms of a UTI. A burning sensation when you go, and a change in color and odor are other common signs. Sometimes, a small amount of blood in the urine is visible. But in older adults, those symptoms are often missing. Instead, older adults may suffer from unexplained incontinence, vague fatigue or significant changes in their behavior and mental status.

ALL OF A SUDDEN CHANGES

Beware! A sudden change in behavior for an Elder is a medical emergency. Our patients in the home present different sign and symptoms. All of a sudden, the elder becomes confused, combative, agitated, cannot sleep, sees bugs crawling, and shadows on the wall. The behavioural changes are often dismissed by the family as “a sign of aging”, or “it’s the dementia”. We call this Delirium. Even if the Elder has a current diagnosis of Dementia, a sudden change in mental status is considered to be Delirium. And a main cause of that sudden change is usually a UTI. Medical attention is required to diagnose a UTI and look out for other probable causes such changes in sodium and potassium levels, elevated urea, thyroid levels, dehydration and constipation or even medication levels in the blood stream.

RECOVERY FROM UTI

Home nurses can help recently discharged patients and their families at home following hospitalization. Prescribed antibiotics can cause short term inconvenient side effects such as loose stool, upset stomach, loss of appetite, dizziness and weakness in walking. Recovering from a UTI is challenging for the elder and if not managed well can cause feeling of sadness related to their loss of independence.

HOME NURSING AND PHYSIOTHERAPY

For the once independent elder, coping with the sudden unexplained incontinence and change in mental status is a major setback. With proper care at home, functional independence can be restored. Home physiotherapy is most recommended for elders being treated for a UTI to build muscle strength, balance and coordination and restore confidence to functionally manage bowel and urinary continence.

Home nurses from Accredited Organizations are trained to detect sudden changes in mental status and behaviours and can help rehabilitate the elder back to his or her routine and regain function and restore mental health, once the underlying medical condition is addressed.

Enayati Home Nursing is recognized by Accreditation Canada International for providing safe home nursing care. Nursing strategies to manage Delirium, Dementia and Depression in the elderly are integral to Enayati training program. Our teams are trained in Elderly Care, Parkinson ’s disease, Dementia, Alzheimer Stroke/CVA.

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