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The UTI Program supports LTCHs to improve the management of UTIs for non-catheterized residents in their homes and helps them implement the organizational and individual practice changes required. Inappropriate use and overuse of antimicrobials have been found to contribute to adverse outcomes, including antimicrobial resistance and Clostridium difficile infection.

How can UTI program benefit you

Public Health Ontario (PHO) keeps Ontarians safe and healthy. With our partners in government, public health and health care, we prevent illness and improve health. We provide the scientific evidence and expert guidance that shapes policies and practices for a healthier Ontario. PHO has locations across Ontario, including 11 laboratory sites.

Duration: 2 min

Why was the UTI Program Developed?

It is common to find bacteria in the urine of the elderly – but it does not always mean that they have a UTI.

Older people are often given antibiotics for what health care providers and other caregivers assume to be UTIs.  

It can be harmful to treat somebody with antibiotics when they don’t need them. 

Antibiotic use can increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, which can make it more difficult to treat future infections.

Five key practice changes involved in the UTI Program

Obtain urine cultures only when residents have the indicated clinical signs and symptoms of a UTI.
Obtain and store urine cultures properly.
Prescribe antibiotics only when specified criteria have been met, and reassess once urine culture and susceptibility results have been received.
Do not use dipsticks to diagnose a UTI.
Discontinue routine annual urine screening and screening at admission if residents do not have indicated clinical signs and symptoms of a UTI.

Implementing the UTI Program

The three phases of the UTI Program (assess, plan, implement) are designed to help LTCHs adopt and sustain best practices for managing and treating UTIs. Each phase is supported by tools and resources that have been developed based on current evidence in infection prevention and control, antimicrobial stewardship and clinical practice. The resources are listed in the pages that follow.

The Implementation Guide includes additional background information and details about the UTI Program’s activities and implementation strategies. We recommend downloading and/or printing the Implementation Guide for reference as you work through each of the implementation phases.


Get to know the UTI Program advisory committee

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Updated 8 July 2020