Diagnosis & Management of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Long Term Care Residents > 65 years

Doses are oral and for adults unless otherwise stated. Visit the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) website for detailed drug information (summary of product characteristics and patient information leaflets). Dosing details, contraindications and drug interactions can also be found in the Irish Medicines Formulary (IMF) or other reference sources such as British National Formulary (BNF) / BNF for children (BNFC). See guidance on dosing in children for quick reference dosage/weight guide. Refer to drug interactions table for detailed drug interactions for all antimicrobials. Note extensive drug interactions for clarithromycin, fluoroquinolones, azole antifungals and rifampicin. Many antibiotics increase the risk of bleeding with anticoagulants.

Note additional warnings for clarithromycin and fluoroquinolones

Adapted from guideline document: Diagnosis & Management of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Long Term Care Residents > 65 years, www.hpsc.ie

Signs and Symptoms of UTI

  1. Diagnosis of UTI should be based on a full clinical assessment.
  2. Symptoms and signs suggestive of urinary tract infection include:
    Dysuria, Frequency, Urgency, New Onset Incontinence, Fever >38°C, Suprapubic Tenderness, Haematuria
  3. In patients with a urinary catheter loin pain and fever >38°C are significant indicators of a UTI. ***DO NOT SEND URINE FOR CULTURE IF THERE ARE NO SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF UTI***
  4. Dipstick urine testing is NOT a reliable way to diagnose UTI. Do not perform dipstick urinalysis if patients are asymptomatic or if a urinary catheter is present as false positives will occur.
  5. Empiric treatment may be considered in a SYMPTOMATIC patient with a positive dipstick. A urine sample should be sent to the microbiology laboratory for culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing in these cases.
  6. A positive urine dipstick result in an asymptomatic patient is not significant and should not be treated

How to Interpret Urine Culture Results in Residents Without a Urine Catheter


UTI LTC over 65 microscopy table 2019


Single organism ≥ 10,000 (104) colony forming units (CFU)/ml OR 

≥ 100,000 (105) mixed growth with one predominant organism OR 

Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus saprophyticus ≥ 1,000 (103)CFU/ml 

Usually indicates UTI but only in patients with symptoms

Positive culture/microscopy result and no symptoms = bacteriuria, not infection and does not require antibiotic treatment.

How to Interpret Urine Culture Results in Residents With a Urine Catheter

  1. Laboratory microscopy should not be used to diagnose UTI in catheterised patients as urine white cells are often elevated due to the presence of the catheter
  2. If the urine culture result is positive (see section 2) treat only if the resident has symptoms or signs suggestive of UTI and no other source is identify ed.
  3. In the presence of a urinary catheter antibiotics will not eradicate bacteriuria

Empirical Treatment of UTI in Residents

  1. Only consider empiric antibiotic therapy in SYMPTOMATIC patients pending urine culture result.
  2. Choice of empirical therapy should be guided by local resistance rates where available.
  3. Modify treatment according to culture result when available.
  4. For treatment of uncomplicated UTI in patients < 65, please refer to other UTI sub-headings.

UTI over 65 empiracal treatment of UTI 2019

Empirical Treatment of UTI in Residents with a Urinary Catheter

UTI LTC over 65 Urinary Catheter 2019

Duration of therapy

  • Prompt resolution of symptoms: 7 days
  • Delayed response (regardless of whether patient remains catheterised or not): 10-14 days
  • If an indwelling catheter has been in place for >2 weeks at the onset of UTI and is still indicated, the catheter should be replaced.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis

  • Antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended for the prevention of symptomatic UTI in catheterised patients.
  • Antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended for urinary catheter changes unless there is a defi nite history of symptomatic UTIs due to catheter change.
  • Antimicrobial prophylaxis may be considered in patients for whom the number of urinary infections are of such frequency or severity that they chronically impinge on function and well-being.

Patient Information

Visit HPSC Information Leaflets pages for the General Public, (MRSA, CRE, etc)

We recommend patients use the website developed by HSE/ICGP/IPU partnership www.undertheweather.ie for tips on how to get better from common infections without using antibiotics, what you can do for yourself or a loved one and when to seek help.

Key Messages

  • Diagnosis of UTI in residents > 65 years requires a combination of reliable clinical signs and symptoms AND a positive urine culture result.
  • Only perform urine dipstick testing or send urine for culture in patients who are symptomatic. Do not perform urine dipstick testing or send urine for culture solely on the basis of urine odour or appearance
  • Residents in long term care facilities have high rates of abnormal dipstick and urine test results WITHOUT infection necessarily being present. Antibiotic therapy in these cases does not reduce mortality or prevent symptomatic episodes, rather it increases side effects and leads to antibiotic resistance.

Reviewed November 2017

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