a common, uncomfortable story
By HFN SR. Nadia Langenegger
Most people prefer home nursing care rather than being admitted hospital. As a Registered Nursing Sister for HFN Nursing Agency I take over the responsibility of the hospital Nursing Sister by doing home visits. To always provide the best care, I must ask personal questions to ascertain whether there is something wrong with the patient.
It is my duty to then inform the doctor or healthcare practitioner of any abnormal findings.
In the two examples below, I refer to urinary tract infections and how the infection manifests itself.
What I often notice is that most older persons experience some form of strange and unusual behaviour which I don’t believe is a sudden regression into dementia.
An elderly lady with dementia, normally friendly, is now aggressive and irritated.
I asked for a urine sample and did a urine test immediately. Her urine was full of Nitrate and Leukocytes.
The doctor was called and the client was examined. Anti-biotics and the appropriate medication was prescribed.
After about two weeks, the lady was her normal self. She still had dementia, but she was no longer aggressive and irritated.
‘n Younger lady with a suprapubic catheter in situ.
(In this example a nursing sister will be able to immediately notice if there are sediments in the draining urine.)
The lady had a low-grade temperature as well as pelvic pain.
I took a urine sample and sent it to a laboratory, on the recommendation of her doctor.
She had a severe infection and had to be hospitalised for almost three weeks.
As you can see, a urinary tract infection can disguise itself, masterfully. Through years of research and practical experience, we have been able to successfully identify urinary tract infections.
My tips for prevention of Urinary Tract infections
1) Incontinent clients need to be washed properly and must be kept dry.
2) Probiflora is our friend
3) Encourage water intake
4) Replace urine catheters on the date the doctor prescribes.
(A Suprapubic silicon catheter must be replaced every 3 months.)
Signs of urinary tract infection:
1) Urination that burns or the feeling that you frequently need to urinate
2) Offensive smelling urine
3) Urine that has a dark colour
4) Urine that looks “cloudy”, has sediments or particles that float around
5) Sometimes a low-grade fever
6) Older persons are inclined to get irritated or even confused
7) More common in females
Urinary tract infection must be treated and the sooner the better!
Nadia Langenegger (SR)