Nursing Home Patient Urinary Tract Infections May Be a Warning Sign of Negligent Care or Sexual Abuse
Many nursing home facilities are chronically understaffed. Lack of staff leads to lack of patient care and attention, which in turn can lead to poor hygiene and other circumstances that cause bacterial infections and other health complications for the residents. One such bacterial infection that is common among elderly patients in nursing homes is a urinary tract infection (UTI).
While usually easily treatable, a UTI can become deadly if it is not addressed quickly and correctly. Perhaps even more alarming is that UTIs may also be a sign of sexual activity with another patient, or even sexual abuse.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
The Mayo Clinic defines a UTI as an infection that occurs anywhere in your urinary system, including:
Urinary Tract Infection of the Bladder
Bladder UTIs are also referred to as cystitis. This type of UTI is generally a result of infection by Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli. Sometimes other types of bacteria can be responsible, and while sexual intercourse could lead to this type of UTI, you do not have to be sexually active for this type of infection to occur.
Urinary Tract Infection of the Urethra
UTIs in the urethra may also be referred to as urethritis. Often, this type of UTI occurs when bacteria from fecal matter spreads to the urinary tract. This type of UTIs may be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, but can also be caused by lack of careful hygiene.
As you can see, cleanliness is an important step in preventing UTIs. Nursing home staff must ensure that all patients engage in proper hygiene or are assisted in doing so if they cannot provide it themselves. Additionally, biological changes that occur naturally as we age can make elderly patients more susceptible to a UTI. The urinary tract’s structures change over time and this can negatively impact hygiene and toileting.
What are the Common Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection?
Symptoms of a UTI vary from person to person and depend on exactly where the UTI is located. However, common symptoms of the various types of UTIs can include:
- Strong and continuous urge to urinate;
- Burning sensation while urinating;
- Fever (greater than 100.4 degrees);
- Confusion and delirium;
- Frequent urination producing small amounts of urine;
- Cloudy urine;
- Red, bright pink, or cola-colored urine that could indicate the presence of blood in the urine;
- Urine that is accompanied by a strong odor; and
- Pelvic pain may develop in women, especially in the center of the pelvis an around the pubic bone.
Many of these symptoms are similar to symptoms caused by other conditions, and they may not immediately be associated with UTIs – especially if there is no pain during urination. It is important for nursing home staff to know that the development of such symptoms could be the result of a UTI.
When Might a Nursing Home be Liable for a Urinary Tract Infection?
As you can see, many UTIs can be avoided with proper hygiene. Nursing home staff must ensure proper hygiene protocol is in place for all patients and must regularly check patients’ vitals to ensure infections are not silently present. When these and other individualized protocol for a specific patient are not followed, UTIs can result.
Given the potential for a UTI to cause more serious conditions, like sepsis, it is important that nursing home staff recognize the signs and symptoms of UTIs so that they can seek medical treatment immediately when one has developed. Failing to do so can result in serious and sometimes fatal complications.
Did your loved one suffer harm or death as a result of elder abuse or nursing home neglect? Our lawyers can help you hold negligent or abusive caregivers accountable for their actions.
It is important to work with a personal injury attorney to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s urinary tract infection in order to determine if the nursing home has any liability. To learn more about legal actions in cases involving nursing home neglect or sexual abuse of elderly patients, contact our law offices today for a FREE legal consultation, where you can find out more information about whether or not the nursing home facility might be liable for compensation. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can help evaluate the circumstances of an injury to help you determine if compensation might be available to you.
We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case. Our personal injury law firm takes cases involving elder abuse and neglect. We offer legal service to clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
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