CanAge tackles misinformation about UTIs and severe health outcomes

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CanAge has published a series of educational papers about Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and the serious threat they pose to seniors, especially those in congregate care settings.

UTIs are one of the most common types of infections in the world and, in seniors, can result in serious complications including sepsis, hospitalization and dementia-like symptoms. This often leads to misdiagnosis and improper care, exacerbating the risk to older patients.

This series of four educational papers explores the issues and concerns, equipping policymakers and health care practitioners with the information they need to take steps in ensuring our growing population of seniors is protected from these often misunderstood and improperly-treated infections.

Executive Summary

This paper is an introduction to urinary tract infections (UTIs), for use by stakeholders, government and professionals. It also seeks to be a helpful resource and technical backgrounder for members of the public. Additional knowledge tools are available as companions to this introductory paper, which provide definitions of terms used, and clarifies more complex language used within this report.

UTIs are a common and uncomfortable infection for individuals and a costly burden to our healthcare system. UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urethra, leading to an infection along the urinary tract.

UTIs can impact people of all ages. However, older people and people living with comorbidities can experience UTIs
more frequently and are at higher risk for life-threatening complications such as sepsis. Older people tend to be more at risk for UTIs because of hormonal, immunological and physical changes that can occur with age and/or resulting from a variety of conditions. These factors simultaneously make UTIs more difficult to diagnose. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriately prescribed antibiotics, which poses risks to the health of the individual and contributes to the pressing public health problem of antibiotic resistance.

UTI Educational Paper 1
UTI educational paper 2
UTI educational paper 3
UTI educational paper 4


Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto

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