Hi, my mother was diagnosed with 2 UTIs at one time. She was started on antibiotics the next day, but she couldn’t talk or open her eyes. She also had two infections. She got better and is back at the nursing home. She has a feeding tube because she was so ill. She has some of her voice back but today she had a choking incident eating (purée) don’t know if they feed her too fast, one staff feeds two at one time. Speech staff say hold off on feeding until she gets stronger. She also has a catheter. I think she still has the UTI by her mental status. I was told the catheter would keep her with a UTI. Should I have them remove the catheter?

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Hi Priestess
It is so stressful navigating this world of healthcare for a vulnerable senior.
I am a Nurse Anesthetist, and I can tell you that having a catheter is absolutely a risk factor for a UTI. When my mother was 94, she broke her hip. It seems to be automatic that a catheter is inserted. I politely instructed the staff that my mother absolutely would be mortified with the thought of a catheter. In reality my mother was the most pleasant cooperative person alive and she would have consented to whatever the staff said. But I knew that the staff would receive the no catheter request better if I said it came from my mother rather than from the bossy nurse daughter : )

The present thinking in healthcare best practices is to avoid a urinary catheter if at all possible. From what you say, I do not see a justification for the catheter other than staff convenience. If she has open bedsores on her bottom, that may be a reason So sores do not get infected.

How old is your mother? Is the feeding tube necessary? Eating is one of the last pleasures people have, some prefer to cough than to give up eating\ drinking. It is difficult, but we need to evaluate for whom we are instituting all of the care interventions. Is it for us to feel we are helping? Or is it truly helping our loved one having a good quality of life?

Many times nursing homes send patients to the hospital when they could stay “home” if everyone agreed on comfort measures rather than interventions.

Write back if you have questions or need support during this difficult time.
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