Diagnosing, managing and preventing urinary tract infections in older people with dementia in hospital
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Diagnosing, managing and preventing urinary tract infections in older people with dementia in hospital

Vicky MacRae Delirium nurse, University Hospital Crosshouse, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland
Susan Holland Alzheimer Scotland dementia nurse consultant, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland
Rachel MacLeod Dementia trainer, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • To update your knowledge on the diagnosis of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in people with dementia

  • To understand the link between delirium and UTIs

  • To become familiar with the methods used to prevent UTIs in older people with dementia

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in older people and are frequently more complicated to diagnose than in younger adults. There are often challenges associated with distinguishing symptomatic UTIs from asymptomatic bacteriuria, particularly in people with cognitive impairment. Older people with dementia are at increased risk of developing a UTI because dementia can lead to voiding issues, impede personal hygiene and increase the need for urinary catheterisation. Furthermore, while a UTI is usually diagnosed based on an individual’s physical signs and symptoms, people with dementia may only exhibit signs of sudden altered mental status such as increased confusion, agitation or withdrawal, making diagnosis challenging. This article discusses the main considerations regarding UTIs in people with dementia in hospital and outlines prevention strategies that nurses can implement in their practice.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2022.e1392

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

Victoria.MaCrae@aapct.scot.nhs.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

MacRae V, Holland S, MacLeod R (2022) Diagnosing, managing and preventing urinary tract infections in older people with dementia in hospital. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2022.e1392

Published online: 20 April 2022

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