First of all let me state that I am not a doctor. However in our consultations with many of our elderly clients we see a recurring theme, UTI’s often mistaken or misdiagnosed as something else. Urinary Tract Infections can be chronic in elderly patients, but when you know what you are looking for they can be significantly mitigated and saving trips to the hospital. Many times clients or their caregivers will think their patient has sundowners because they are awake at night. They also might think the UTI patient is suffering from early onset dementia because many times the UTI will manifest itself as a condition which causes dementia like symptoms. If your patient or loved one suffers from recurring UTI’s make sure they are addressed at the first sign of any of the following:
A burning feeling when you urinate
A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine
Feeling tired or shaky
Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys.
If these symptoms persist make an appointment to see your primary care physician immediately so they can treat the UTI before it becomes more pronounced.
Becoming more vigilant, especially with chronic UTI patients can mitigate the symptoms and prevent a misdiagnosis.
Make sure the individual gets enough fluids, and keeps an eye on their coffee intake, which can be a factor leading to dehydration. Best bet is at the first sign of a UTI, especially with a chronic sufferer, get them to their primary doctor so they start a course of antibiotics to minimize the effects of the UTI.
Education and vigilance is the key.