Older people are given unnecessarily amounts of antibiotics because urine samples are misinterpreted
There is a significant overuse of antibiotics in nursing homes because results of urine tests are not always properly understood, according to a survey.
– It has been proven to be challenging for healthcare professionals to use and interpret urine samples correctly, says Svein Ivar Fylkesnes to Dagens Medisin (Medicine Today). Fylkesnes is a nursing home doctor.
He has led a survey that involves clinical use of urine samples in primary care, including nursing homes and elderly who receive help through the home care service.
– Urinary tract infections and how to reduce antibiotic use is highlighted as the year’s theme of NOKLUS, Norwegian quality improvement of laboratory investigations. The most important measure is to get health professionals to interpret test results correctly, says Fylkesnes.
– About 70 to 80 percent of patients in nursing homes have dementia, and they have difficulty explaining symptoms of urinary tract infections such as younger people who visit the doctor can, says Fylkesnes.
The doctor who interprets the urine test often has only the test result to relate to. Fylkesnes points out that there may be several reasons for the presence of bacteria in the urine.
– Almost 200,000 patients belong to the home care service in Norway and about 40,000 live in nursing homes. If the use of antibiotics for urinary tract infection decreases, it will add towards the authorities goal to reduce antibiotics by 30 per cent by 2020, says Fylkesnes.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today