Elderly Stroke Patients: Tips For Reducing The Risk Of Urinary Tract Infection From An In-Dwelling Catheter

Taking care of an elderly loved one that has had a stroke can be tough, especially when paralysis has caused mobility issues. Many stroke patients are unable to go to the bathroom. If your loved one is wearing an in-dwelling catheter for emptying his or her bladder after a stroke, learning more about it is extremely important because of the high risk catheters pose for urinary tract infections (UTIs).

How An In-Dwelling Catheter Works

An in-dwelling catheter is inserted into the bladder through the ureter tube and is held in place by a tiny balloon. Once the tube of the catheter is in place, the balloon is inflated enough to ensure the tube does not slip out. In-dwelling catheters are used in patients that will need long-term catheterization care. In elderly stroke patients, in-dwelling catheters provide urinary relief without the patient having to struggle to get to the rest room. Some stroke patients may also have lost ability to feel the sensations of having to urinate. Caring for someone with an in-dwelling catheters means you will need to be vigilant for symptoms of UTI.

Symptoms Of UTI In Elderly Stroke Patients With In-Dwelling Catheters

Unfortunately, the presence of an in-dwelling catheter is a huge risk of certain infection. The tube in the ureter ends up with a bio-film on it from being in place for long-term. Bacterium lives easily in bio-film on the tube. Eventually, the bacterium will make its way to the bladder where the UTI starts. In a stroke patient, you may find it hard to understand if he or she is trying to tell you the catheter burns where it is inserted in the genital area. You may not have any idea your loved one is experiencing painful symptoms because of how the stroke left them without a voice or the memory to use one. Symptoms of UTI to be aware of in a stroke patient are:

  • The urine in the collection bag is cloudy and/or has blood in it
  • The urine has a strong, bad smell
  • Low-grade fever
  • Night sweats
  • Chills and shaking

Bear in mind that sometimes the presence of an UTI in an elderly person mimics the symptoms of dementia. If your elderly loved one seems confused, is hallucinating or is unusually agitated, you should call the nurse or doctor about them being symptoms of a UTI, especially if your patient has had an in-dwelling catheter in for more than a couple of weeks.

An untreated UTI can lead to more serious health issues like sepsis or kidney infections. Anytime your elderly loved seems to feel bad more so than usual, contacting his or her urologist about it is best.

For a urologist, contact a clinic such as Advanced Urology Associates