Study Finds UTI Prevention Inconsistencies Among Nursing Homes
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common type of infection affecting nursing home residents in the United States. Despite the high occurrence of UTIs in nursing homes, a new study shows that prevention policies vary greatly between facilities.
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In 2014, researchers at the Center for Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing examined the UTI prevention practices of almost 1,000 nursing homes in the U.S., accounting for more than 88,000 residents. The methods employed by the nursing homes were compared to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ data to determine which prevention tactics were effective in lowering infections.
According to the study, 5.4 percent, or more than 4,700, residents suffered a UTI each month. Those with catheters were four times more likely to contract a UTI than residents without catheters.
Despite that increased risk, however, researchers found that there were more residents without catheters suffering from UTI. Due to this finding, researchers say there should be increased focus on finding methods that prevent UTIs as a whole despite whether or not catheter placement is involved.
The research team specifically examined nine policies aimed at preventing infection. Three were linked to lower infection prevalence.
- Nursing homes using portable bladder ultrasounds to verify if a resident’s urine had been completely voided were 10 percent less likely to have increased numbers of non-catheter related UTIs. Twenty-two percent of the nursing homes reviewed by the study used this technology.
- Only 44 percent of the nursing homes studied had policies in place regarding the cleaning of urine collection bags for those with catheters. In facilities where cleaning policies were in effect, the risk of having high rates of catheter-related UTIs were 20 percent lower.
- Nine percent of facilities had an infection preventionist on staff who had received training on UTIs through the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. These facilities were 20 percent less likely to exhibit high UTI rates.