Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 159–165 | Cite as

Managing Urinary Tract Infections in Nursing Homes: A Qualitative Assessment

  • Anna K. Schweizer
  • Carmel M. HughesEmail author
  • Domhnall C. Macauley
  • Ciaran O’Neill


Objective: To elucidate the steps in the management of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in elderly nursing home residents, in order to derive data which would assist in an economic evaluation of such infections.

Method: Maximum variation sampling was used to recruit General Practitioners (GPs) and nurses (who worked in nursing homes), into the study. Using semi-structured interviews, a topic guide was used to explore diagnosis, treatment and the role of GPs and nurses in the management of UTIs in nursing home residents. Thematic analysis was employed to identify the main themes.

Main outcome measures: A comprehensive description of the management of UTIs in nursing home residents that will be used in a future economic evaluation of the costs of this prevalent infection in this setting.

Results: Ten GPs and nurses respectively took part in the interviews. Three overarching themes emerged from the interviews: information, processes and decision-making. Health care professionals described the key symptoms for diagnosis (information), testing procedures to confirm the presence of an infection (processes); many variations in management pathways were described. The nurse was central to decision-making in treatment i.e. prescribing of an antibiotic. Most GPs reported that they accepted the nursing staff’s assessment of the resident and seldom visited a patient in a nursing home for a UTI.

Conclusions: The management approach to UTIs varied greatly and was a more complex process than anticipated. Identification of the component steps will be used to perform an economic evaluation of UTIs in nursing homes.


Northern Ireland Nursing homes Prescribing Qualitative research Urinary tract infections 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna K. Schweizer
    • 1
  • Carmel M. Hughes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Domhnall C. Macauley
    • 2
  • Ciaran O’Neill
    • 3
  1. 1.Clinical and Practice Research Group, School of PharmacyQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland
  2. 2.Hillhead Family PracticeBelfastNorthern Ireland
  3. 3.School of Policy StudiesUniversity of Ulster JordanstownNewtownabbeyNorthern Ireland

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