Did you know that a wood frog can hold its urine for up to 8 months? Don’t let your residents be wood frogs! Emptying the bladder often helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Sometimes it’s difficult for residents living with dementia to express their needs and may face unique challenges, outlined below:
- Cognitive Impairment: Dementia can impair a person’s ability to recognize the need to urinate or to communicate this need effectively. As a result, they may not empty their bladder regularly, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Mobility Issues: People with advanced dementia may have difficulty moving independently, including getting to the bathroom. This can lead to accidents and inadequate bladder emptying.
- Incontinence: Dementia can lead to urinary incontinence, where individuals may lose control over their bladder function, resulting in involuntary leakage or inability to hold urine.
- Hygiene Challenges: People with dementia may forget or be unable to maintain good hygiene practices, such as wiping properly after using the toilet. Poor hygiene can increase the risk of infections.
- Difficulty Expressing Pain or Discomfort: Individuals with dementia may have difficulty expressing pain or discomfort, making it harder for caregivers to recognize symptoms of UTIs or other bladder issues.
Caregivers and healthcare providers need to be vigilant in managing bladder issues and infections in persons with dementia. Strategies may include:
- Establishing a regular toileting schedule.
- Providing reminders and assistance with toileting.
- Ensuring easy access to the bathroom and using aids like bedside commodes.
- Monitoring for signs of UTIs, such as increased confusion, agitation, or changes in behavior.
- Maintaining good hygiene practices, including proper perineal care.
- Consulting healthcare professionals for management strategies and treatment of urinary tract infections or other bladder issues.
The Alzheimer’s Society has created an article, Reducing and Managing Accidents, that highlights tips that could help your patients/residents tackle everyday life, avoid infections, and prevent incontinence.
Accidents and incontinence can cause problems, especially as a person’s condition progresses. This can be upsetting for the person with dementia and difficult when you’re supporting them. Many people find it difficult to talk about these issues. Overall, addressing bladder issues and infections in persons with dementia requires a comprehensive approach that considers their cognitive and physical limitations while promoting their comfort and well-being.
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Burning Questions About Urinary Tract Infections: What are Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)? Signs and symptoms, prevention and treatment.