Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in adults – it is estimated half of all women in the UK will have a UTI at least once in their life and 1 in 2000 healthy men will develop one each year.

In older people, the impact of UTIs can often be worse, causing sudden and severe confusion (also known as delirium), a change in behaviour and agitation. For an older person contracting a UTI can also have unintended consequences including admission to hospital and could potentially speed up the progression of Dementia.

This project has focused on designing a patient guidance sheet. This document will help people with recurring UTIs and their carers to better self-management; and reduce unnecessary A&E visits and hospital admissions.

Patient Guidance

The aim of the guidance is improve people’s knowledge of UTI symptoms and what to do if they suspect they have one. The guidance also identifies what to do to prevent UTIs recurring. It is specifically aimed at people who are at risk of recurring UTIs and will be given to them by healthcare professionals in the community.

The guidance has been tested extensively in the local community, including general practice and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust community services, with healthcare professionals distributing the guidance sheet to people who have experienced recurring UTIs. As a result of the feedback we received from patients and healthcare professionals, the guidance was amended to ensure the information was suitable for patients.

Overall, the feedback has been very positive; local people with experience of UTIs have said they found ‘the guidance easy to understand’, ‘the information practical’ and ‘it would help identify infections’. Healthcare professionals have commented that ‘it is a really good source of information’, ‘very clear and patient-friendly’ and ‘as it is only one page long patients won’t get bored’.

At the Infections Working Group meeting in June 2015, it was agreed that the UTI Patient Guidance will be rolled out across Southwark and Lambeth. This means the guidance will be available to all healthcare professionals in general practice and the community, to give to those people at risk of a recurring UTIs. A roll out plan is currently being developed and the guidance will be in GP practices and community services in the near future.