September 30, 2022
3 mins

Cranberry Juice Can’t Fix This Problem: The Great UTI Dilemma

Lab member scanning medical material

When It Comes to Testing, Timing is Everything 

Our therapists observed this first-hand with residents during their on-site rehab sessions at communities. They would notice something irregular with a resident’s mood or behavior. We would call our diagnostic partner and a standard process would ensue – disruption to the resident’s daily life, as they would be transported off-site for testing by an unfamiliar facilitator, followed by a waiting period of several days for results that would delay necessary treatment. 

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are among the most prevalent tests ordered for community-dwelling seniors between the ages of 50 and 70 years old, and left untreated can put seniors' health at incredible risk.

We were ready for change. Improving the efficiency of the diagnostic delivery model across senior living communities was non-negotiable in the care of these residents. 


The Importance of the Right Diagnostic Partner

“Diagnostic laboratory service is a vital piece of the puzzle that is healthcare. Access to laboratory services in a senior living community can prove to be a challenge as many laboratory service providers are on-site for only a few hours a week, if at all. This can lead to delays in diagnostic information which in turn delays alterations to a resident’s plan of care. Being able to provide lab services each day will improve the overall quality of the healthcare experience for residents in senior living communities.” – Tyler Witges, President of Diagnostics at EmpowerMe Wellness

Learn more if integrating EmpowerMe diagnostics is right for your community.


Here are some helpful tips you can ask your current diagnostic partner to ensure they are caring well for your seniors.  

Questions to Ask (and Expectations to Set) with Your Diagnostic Provider
  • Ask a representative from your provider to visit your community and meet with residents to start developing relationships with them
  • Connect your community’s care staff with your diagnostic provider to establish clear lines of communication for testing orders  
  • Be sure your diagnostic provider has a partnership with a pharmacy to ensure expedited prescriptions when needed
Signs and Symptoms of UTIs

Catching a UTI early has the potential for quicker treatment and recovery for your residents. Here are some helpful resources you can share with your staff when working with seniors at your community. 

Common symptoms of a UTI in seniors include:
  • Abrupt onset of delirium
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Frequent falls and poor coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Burning, painful sensation with urination
  • Frequent, intense urge to urinate even when there’s little urine to pass
  • A feeling that the bladder is not completely emptied
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
Symptoms of a more severe UTI may include:
  • Fever
  • Night sweats or chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back
Prevention:

You can help residents prevent UTIs by encouraging them to do the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid scented products
  • Practice personal hygiene (wearing clean clothes, bathing, wiping front to back to reduce the spread of bacteria)
  • Regular restroom schedule throughout the day (urine held in the bladder for an extended amount of time can lead to increased risk of infection)



Download our tip sheet HERE