Tips to prevent UTIs in people with dementia
The following tips can help to reduce the risk of a UTI in someone with dementia.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and dementia
Reduce the risk of a UTI in people with dementia
- Adults should drink between six and eight glasses of fluid a day and drink alcohol only in moderation. Encourage the person with dementia to drink by finding out their preferences and making drinks readily available and visible. Using a brightly coloured glass or cup can help with this.
- Monitor fluid intake for people who are less mobile and at risk of dehydration. If someone is not drinking enough and/or has difficulty with swallowing, consider asking for an assessment by a speech and language therapist. Dehydration may cause the person to pass darker, more concentrated urine which may also cause pain on urination.
- Do not hold urine in the bladder for too long. People with dementia should be prompted to use the toilet on a regular basis. Make sure the location of the toilet is clear. A sign on the door, with a picture, may help. Consider changing the colour of the toilet seat – a black or red seat with a white pan can make it easier to see.
- Empty the bladder following sexual intercourse.
- If you are a woman using a diaphragm, consider an alternative form of contraception. Diaphragms may obstruct full emptying of the bladder.
- If you are man using a condom, consider using condoms without a spermicidal lubricant.
- Try to avoid becoming constipated as this can prevent the bladder from emptying properly, which in turn can cause a UTI. Eating foods high in fibre, drinking plenty of liquids and exercising can help to prevent constipation.
- Maintain good hygiene – wash the genitals at least once a day using unperfumed soap and do not use talcum powder.
- Women should wipe ‘front to back’ after using the toilet. The availability of easily accessible wet wipes in the bathroom may help to promote good hygiene.
- When a urinary catheter is being used, follow good infection prevention measures – your healthcare professional will be able to advise.