BACKGROUND: The prevalence of asymptomatic bacteriuria among residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities is high, and is a source of inappropriate antibiotic prescription.OBJECTIVE: To establish symptoms and signs associated with a positive urine culture, and to determine whether antibiotic therapy is associated with functional improvement.METHODS: A total of 101 LTC patients were prospectively observed after submission of urine for culture.RESULTS: The culture positivity rate was consistent with the expected asymptomatic bacteriuria rate. Change in mental status and male sex were associated with culture positivity. Treatment decisions were not consistent with culture results. Treatment did not lead to improvement in activities of daily living scores at two days or seven days.DISCUSSION: Significant growth cannot be well predicted based on clinical variables; thus, the decision to submit urine is somewhat arbitrary. Because urine culture testing and treatment does not lead to functional improvement, restricting access to the test may be reasonable.CONCLUSION: Urine culture testing in LTC facilities does not lead to functional improvement.