Published consensus statement offers UTI treatment recommendations

March 19, 2020

They are among the most common ailments for those residing at post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) centers, yet diagnosing and managing urinary tract infections (UTIs) remains a challenging prospect for caregivers at these facilities.

In an effort to address the issue, the Infection Advisory Committee of the American Medical Directors Association—The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Medicine (AMDA) convened in late 2016 to devise consistent guidelines for treating UTIs. The Journal of the American Medical Directors Association published the group's  in its January issue.

According to the statement, many of the issues related to UTI treatment at PALTCs, including overdiagnosis and overtreatment, may stem from rapidly evolving advances in evidence-based UTI treatment recommendations that fail to reach busy practitioners and staff working in an environment where "fast-paced" is an understatement. This often results in the continuation of established and deeply rooted practice methods or pressure from senior staff and concerned family members to move ahead with a treatment plan that may no longer be recognized as the most effective.

As a member of AMDA's Infection Advisory Committee, Kalin Clifford, Pharm.D., an assistant professor for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, helped develop the statement. He said the last major update to UTI treatment recommendations occurred in 2007, and though an update was issued in 2011, the discovery of new  and modifications to preferred diagnosis and treatment methods made it necessary and crucial to overhaul the guidelines.

"We realized there is a gap in the literature of what really needs to be addressed when treating urinary tract infections," Clifford said. "There's been so much change that it was time to come up with something to help today's providers, especially our nursing home colleagues, identify if a patient is truly having a UTI."