A study led by Prof Payam Barnaghi and Alex Capstick (UK DRI Centre for Care Research & Technology) has used artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a new method for early detection of urinary tract infection (UTI) in people affected by dementia. The research, published in the journal npj Digital Medicine, could minimise preventable hospital admissions by enabling infections to be treated before complications arise.
What was the challenge?
UTIs are common in older adults, and often lead to unplanned, preventable hospital admission in people living with dementia. This is because people affected by dementia may find it challenging to report their symptoms, therefore leading to further complications as the infection is left untreated.
Currently, UTIs are diagnosed by urine sample analysis, and this is only carried out when a UTI is already suspected. It is estimated that 1 in 4 hospital beds in the UK are occupied by people living with dementia, and 20% of these are due to avoidable causes such as UTIs.