Urinary Tract Infections
We are frequently asked to evaluate patients with UTI or urinary tract infection. Most younger people with this problem experience symptoms such as painful and frequent urination, along with urgency or the feeling that one needs to urinate. These symptoms usually suggest infection of the lower urinary tract. Kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, may present with these symptoms in addition to flank pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. However symptoms may vary among patients, and in the case of older patients, and those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, the symptoms of serious infection may be minimal. Simple urinary tract infection can progress to sepsis or overwhelming or life-threatening infection, so it is important to seek urgent evaluation and/or treatment for all cases of UTI.
Call Your Doctor vs. Clinic or ER
For some patients with recurring infection, a simple phone call to their primary physician may be all that is needed to initiate a telephoned prescription for an antibiotic at a nearby pharmacy. In California, out-of-state licensed physicians may call in prescriptions for their patients who are visiting here. For patients without access to a primary care provider, several local clinics are available for urgent care. It is best to call for an appointment before going, in order to minimize potential waiting room time. Hospital emergency rooms can always provide urgent care for these kinds of problems, and they do so frequently. Insurances can usually be billed directly when patients go to the ER, however for those without adequate coverage, the emergency department is always the most expensive option, unless sliding scale fees are offered. Patients risk increased exposure to other illnesses in any public medical waiting room.
The Housecall Alternative
Urgent care housecalls offer the most convenient and patient friendly option. Our patients with urinary tract infections report to us that they request our services because they feel more comfortable staying at home or in their hotel room with easy access to the bathroom while awaiting the doctor’s arrival. Also, because we dispense antibiotics and other appropriate medications, there is usually no trip to the pharmacy required. In most cases we may perform a urinalysis dip test with results available on scene within minutes. Urine cultures may be taken and delivered to the laboratory for processing when needed. Exposure to other sick patients is not a significant risk with medical house call services. Most insurers offer reimbursement for housecalls, but to varying degrees, so it is important to check with your insurer regarding your coverage prior to requesting a house call doctor visit.
Other Urinary Problems That We Are Called To Treat
Occasionally, we are asked to see patients with urinary retention, or inability to urinate. We carry the necessary equipment used for simple cases of this problem, however, because we cannot guarantee rapid response and are subject to traffic conditions, we usually recommend hospital emergency room care. Patients with urinary retention are treated quickly in the ER to relieve them of their misery.
We are asked to place foley catheters by patients who are mobility challenged or unable to go to the clinic for varying reasons. We carry the necessary equipment and sterile technique is always used during the housecall visit.
Painless hematuria or blood in the urine without other symptoms is usually evaluated by laboratory analysis of the urine. We can arrange for this to be done, however the tests will be run be a separate laboratory and therefore not available during the housecall.
For patients with suspected kidney stones, ER evaluation is required since immediate radiologic imaging may be required to confirm an accurate diagnosis.
As always, we recommend that any patient with a serious or life-threatening condition go immediately to their nearest hospital emergency room, or call 9-1-1