Nursing Home Urinary Tract Infections
Western PA law firm holding nursing homes liable for neglect
Infections can affect people of all ages, but as people get older, their immune systems aren’t as strong as they once were. Because of this, nursing home residents are often at a higher risk of contracting an infection, like a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs often occur because of nursing home neglect, especially when basic needs are not being met.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection happens when harmful bacteria get inside the tubes out of the body. When the germs multiply, they can cause discomfort and issues when urinating. The infection can happen in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
UTI symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Lower abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Leaking urine
How UTIs happen in nursing homes
In nursing homes, urinary tract infections often result from neglect, including but not limited to:
Catheter use is frequent among elderly individuals who struggle with independent bathroom visits. Catheter misuse or improper maintenance in nursing homes can lead to quick bacterial growth. Neglected residents might have catheters left in the urethra and bladder for prolonged periods without proper cleaning. This allows bacteria to spread, leading to preventable UTIs.
Some nursing home residents have limited mobility and can’t frequently or independently go to the restroom. These residents rely on the use of diapers. When staff neglects these residents, they are left in dirty diapers for a long time. This can let harmful microorganisms like E. coli enter the urethra and cause UTIs.
Dehydration in nursing home residents can increase the likelihood of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Concentrated urine from dehydration provides an environment that makes it easier for bacteria to grow, and reduced urine output can give bacteria more time to multiply within the urinary tract.
To prevent UTIs, proper hygiene is crucial. If nursing home staff doesn’t care for their residents properly, the risk of a UTI increases. Residents need regular baths and clean clothes to reduce the chance of bacteria growing and causing a UTI. Dirty diapers and improper wiping can cause bacteria to spread from the rectum to the urinary tract.
UTIs have the potential to be life-threatening. They can develop into the following complications:
- Kidney infections: UTIs can spread to the kidneys, causing severe pain, high fever, and an elevated risk of kidney failure.
- Septic shock: Untreated or severe UTIs can lead to sepsis and septic shock. This life-threatening condition occurs when an infection spreads rapidly, causing low blood pressure and organ failure.
- Death: Septic shock and other health conditions result from a serious UTI or a UTI going untreated, and when experienced by a nursing home resident, they can potentially be fatal.
Nursing homes are responsible for preventing UTIs and promptly diagnosing and treating infections when they occur to avoid life-threatening complications.
Get a Pittsburgh nursing home neglect attorney who gets results
With decades of experience, the attorneys at Hal Waldman & Associates are prepared to take on your UTI nursing home case. We build strong cases that get results because your family deserves them. With a thorough investigation, we can bring to light the mistreatment that caused your loved one’s UTI. With hard evidence, we won’t back down until your family is fairly compensated. Contact us today to learn more.