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Older women's experiences of suffering from urinary tract infections
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3754-5026
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine.
Högskolan i Buskerud, Norge.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, E-ISSN 1365-2702, Vol. 23, no 9-10, 1385-1394 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims and objectives: To describe and explore older women's experiences of having had repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Background: UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infections among older women. Approximately one-third of very old women suffer from at least one UTI each year. Despite the high incidence of UTI, little is known about the impact of UTI on health and daily life in older women.

Design: A qualitative descriptive design.

Methods: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted with 20 Swedish women aged 67–96 years who suffered from repeated UTIs the preceding year. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: Two main themes were identified: being in a state of manageable suffering and depending on alleviation. Being in a state of manageable suffering was described in terms of experiencing physical and psychological health problems, struggling to deal with the illness and being restricted in daily life. Depending on alleviation was illustrated in terms of having access to relief but also receiving inadequate care.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that UTIs are a serious health problem among older women that not only affects both physical and mental health but also has serious social consequences. The women in this study described the physical and psychological health problems, struggling to deal with the illness, being restricted in daily life, depending on access to relief and receiving inadequate care.

Relevance to clinical practice: It is important to improve the knowledge about how UTI affects the health of older women. This knowledge may help nurses develop strategies to support these women. One important part in the supportive strategies is that nurses can educate these women in self-care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2014. Vol. 23, no 9-10, 1385-1394 p.
Keyword [en]
Experience, nursing, older women, urinary tract infection
National Category
Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42798DOI: 10.1111/jocn.12422ISI: 000334178300024ISBN: 978-91-7459-164-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-42798DiVA: diva2:410629
Available from: 2011-04-14 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2015-04-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Urinary tract infection: a serious health problem in old women
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urinary tract infection: a serious health problem in old women
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common bacterial infection in women of all ages but the incidence and prevalence increase with age. Despite the high incidence of UTI, little is known about its impact on morale or subjective wellbeing and daily life in old women. UTI in older people can be a complex problem in terms of approach to diagnosis, treatment and prevention because in these patients it frequently presents with a range of atypical symptoms such as delirium, gastrointestinal signs and falls. Even if UTI has been shown to be associated with delirium it has frequently been questioned whether UTI can cause delirium or if it is only accidentally detected when people with delirium are assessed.

The main purpose of this thesis was to describe the prevalence of UTI, to identify factors associated with UTI among very old women and to illuminate the impact of a UTI on old women’s health and wellbeing. 

This thesis is based on two main studies, the GErontological Regional DAtabase (GERDA) a cross-sectional, population-based study carried out in the northern parts of Sweden and Finland during 2005-2007 and a qualitative interview study in western Sweden 2008-2009. Data were collected from structured interviews and assessments made during home visits, from medical records, care givers and relatives. UTI was diagnosed if the person had a documented symptomatic UTI, with either short- or long-term ongoing treatment with antibiotics, or symptoms and laboratory tests judged to indicate the presence of UTI by the responsible physician or the assessor.

One hundred and seventeen out of 395 women (29.6%) were diagnosed as having suffered from at least one UTI during the preceding year and 233 of these 395 (60%) had had at least one diagnosed UTI during the preceding 5 years. These old women with UTI were more dependent in their activities of daily living, and had poorer cognition and nutrition. In these women, UTI during the preceding year was associated with vertebral fractures, urinary incontinence, inflammatory rheumatic disease and multi-infarct dementia.

Eighty-seven of 504 women (17.3%), were diagnosed as having a UTI with or without ongoing treatment when they were assessed, and almost half (44.8%) were diagnosed as delirious or having had episodes of delirium during the past month. In all, 137 of the 504 women (27.2%) were delirious or had had episodes of delirium during the past month and 39 (28.5%) of them were diagnosed as having a UTI. Delirium was associated with Alzheimer’s disease, multi-infarct dementia, depression, heart failure and UTI.

Forty-six out of 319 women (14.4%) were diagnosed as having had a UTI with or without ongoing treatment and these had a significantly lower score on the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale (PGCMS), (10.4 vs 11.9, p=0.003) than those without UTI, indicating a significant impact on morale or subjective wellbeing among very old women. The medical diagnoses significantly and independently associated with low morale were depression, UTI and constipation.

The experience of suffering from repeated UTI was described in interviews conducted with 20 old women. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The participants described living with repeated UTI as being in a state of manageable suffering and being dependent on alleviation. Being in a state of manageable suffering was described in terms of experiencing physical and psychological inconveniences, struggling to deal with the illness and being restricted regarding daily life. Being dependent on alleviation was illustrated in terms of having access to relief but also experiencing receiving inadequate care.

In conclusion, UTI is very common among old and very old women and is a serious health problem. UTI seems to be associated with delirium and to have a significant impact on the morale or subjective wellbeing of old women and those affected suffer both physically and psychologically and their social life is limited. UTI was also associated with vertebral fractures, urinary incontinence, inflammatory rheumatic disease and multi-infarct dementia which might raise the suspicion that UTI can have serious medical effects on health in old women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2011. 80 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1410
Keyword
urinary tract infection, old women, risk factors, delirium, experience, nursing
National Category
Geriatrics
Research subject
Geriatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43753 (URN)978-91-7459-164-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-08, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
Embargo t o m 2011-11-11Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2015-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, IreneOlofsson, BirgittaGustafson, Yngve

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