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Weighing the Costs of Chronic UTIs

· UTIs,Pixie

The Real Costs of UTIs

Every year, an average of 880,000 U.S. older adults are given urinary tract infection (UTI) as a primary diagnosis in emergency departments. And while the trauma brought on by hospitalization is not easily quantifiable for the individual, loved ones, or care providers involved, there are explicit costs attached to admission to the hospital for an older adult with a UTI as their principal diagnosis.

Depending on the severity of a UTI and the stage at which a physician intervenes, these costs can vary. For younger individuals who can easily identify symptoms and alert their doctor at the onset of infection, charges typically total to $300 for the hospital visit, urine culture antibiotics, and extraneous medicines used for pain — or less, if the individual has insurance.

Older adults often do not realize they are infected until a UTI manifests itself in an extreme way — for example, falling, fainting, or unusual irritability. What these individuals and care providers mistake for a stroke is most often a UTI, revealed to them as an infection only after the charges of a hospital admission have taken full effect. Not only are these hospital visits expensive, but they are also life-threatening in that the UTI is likely past the point of return, requiring intensive care and possible transfers to hospice or inpatient rehabilitation centers post-hospitalization. Further, the cost of these hospital admissions range from $5,700 to a sizable $21,400, all of which could be easily avoided given the right monitoring tools — like Pixie Smart Pads — and foresight to take action during the early onset stages of infection.

UTIs & Hospitalizations

But how can it be that a UTI-related charge can escalate to become such a large expense? To begin, it is worth considering the already heightened costs associated with elder care. The cost of antibiotics, too, quickly adds up, particularly with older adults who likely have a history of being exposed to multidrug-resistant organisms. The real cost, however, lies in the nature of the incident that spurs a UTI hospitalization. Because older adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s fail to catch a UTI until its most severe tail end, likely due to falling or fainting, these individuals are automatically admitted to the emergency — and most costly — care departments of hospitals. The high-stress environment in which these incidents take place lead physicians to overcompensate, overmedicate, and overcharge, ultimately totaling to costs of tens of thousands of dollars. Further, older adults typically feel weaker after spending time in a hospital, having had inadequate sleep and nutrition, and an increased risk of being exposed to harmful diseases. In fact, more than a third of patients over the age of 70 years old decline mentally and physically post-hospitalization.

To avoid the expenses of admission and reentry, elder care requires a routine monitoring system that will allow families and skilled nurses to intervene with preventative measures like hydration and careful washing of the body before UTIs worsen. With Pixie Smart Pads, individuals gain the foresight to act against UTIs, avoiding the costs associated with hospitalization.

Let’s quantify these savings:

$5,700 is equal to:

  • Roughly five weeks of assisted living in New York state. On average, the monthly cost of a private one-unit space in an assisted living community in New York is $4,136.

  • Two “Around the World” plane passes, each of which grant the flyer up to 34,000 miles spanning 15 stopovers.

  • 271 hours, or a little over one month, worked by a home care aide. Aides are paid on average $21 per hour, and the typical work day is eight hours.

  • One pair of Van Cleef & Arpels Sweet Alhambra earstuds come to just under $5,700.

  • 96 packages of ten Pixie Smart Pads — each of which is equivalent to a one-month supply — plus a free Pixie Scanner. This comes out to 8 years worth of at-home monitoring.

$21,400 is equal to:

  • Just over five months of assisted living in New York state. On average, the monthly cost of a private one-unit space in an assisted living community in New York is $4,136.

  • Roughly the cost of in-state tuition at Ohio State University - your grandchildren will be forever grateful!

  • 1,019 hours, or a little over four months, worked by a home care aide. Aides are paid $21 per hour, and the average work day is eight hours.

  • A 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia, the first in a line of sporty Italian luxury cars, comes to roughly $19,950.

  • A five percent down payment on a $380,000 house.

  • 362 packages of ten Pixie Smart Pads — each of which is equivalent to a one-month supply — plus a free Pixie Scanner. This comes out to 30 years worth of at-home monitoring.

What would you rather spend on? Try Pixie Smart Pads today!

Sources: National Center for Biotechnology Information, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Cost Helper, Senior Living, Pixie Scientific, CNN, Paying for Senior Care, Down Payment Calculator, College Data

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