Urinary tract infections cause a lot of discomfort. Sadly, they are widespread among the elderly, which means that care homes need a proven strategy to keep it at bay.
Scientists estimate that 40% to more than half the population of women suffer from a UTI during their lifetime, and some get re-infections. If the infections are not given proper medical attention, they might lead to further complications.
Older residents are often more likely to be affected by dehydration. As a result, this can increase the risk of falls, urinary tract infections (UTIs), acute kidney injury (AKI) and sepsis. UTI has become a very common cause for emergency hospital admission. It has also been linked to high levels of antibiotic resistance.
Cranberry juice is a common solution that is used to prevent UTIs, but the information about it is divided. Some researchers have claimed that it could prevent the infections, but others claim that the juice cannot treat a recurrence of the problem. However, the simple preventative measure for most infections is to drink more water. The urinary tract system requires enough water to function at an optimal level to clear the infection.
Using water in Care Homes to prevent UTIs
UTIs occur when harmful bacteria gets into the bladder via the urethra. By drinking sufficient amounts of water, you will flush out the bacteria hence, preventing the infection. Also, the liquid reduces the concentration of the bacteria in your urine and inhibits their attachment to the bladder cells.
Tips that Care Home Staff can use to make water more appealing
Most people understand the benefit of taking in water regularly, but they forget or don’t know how they can achieve it. Take a look at our advice on how to overcome the issue in a care home:
- Put a glass and jug of water in the residents bedroom – It ensures that if the resident is thirsty, they have easy access to water.
- Make the water location and glasses appealing – this can give people a positive experience and they take on water more often.
- Add some flavour – water can be boring to drink in quantity. Add pieces of fruit such as orange or lemon to give it a more exciting taste.
- Come up with a routine and encourage residents to embrace it – most people like fresh water on a regular basis. Build this into your work schedules and refill it while other tasks are being completed.
- If possible, consider alternating with sparkling water. Much like adding fruit, keep things interesting.
Drinking water regularly is a real way of preventing UTIs, we’ve seen very promising results that were published by NICE.ORG, so give it a try? It is not only good for their bladder, but the whole body will benefit. For example East Berkshire CCG in partnership with a number of care homes used these strategies to optimise UTI management, the result was a significant reduction of UTIs requiring hospitalisation. It also reduced the average of one case recorded every 13 days to one case every 47 days. One care home in East Berkshire in particular recorded no UTIs for 243 days! The reduced prescribing of antibiotics also helped minimise the risks of AKI and antibiotic resistance. The staff were also asked to record resistant UTI symptoms on a form. This promoted better communication with GPs, so the form could then be completed with the agreed treatment plan and details of any antibiotic prescribing.
If you would like to discuss your UTI management strategy contact us and one of our consultants will explain how we can help your care home.