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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)

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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are the most common healthcare-associated infection reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These infections are associated with use of a urinary catheter, a sterile tube inserted through the urethra to drain urine from the bladder. The number one risk factor for developing a CAUTI is prolonged use of a urinary catheter.  Other risk factors include insertion technique and routine maintenance of the catheter.

When catheters are not inserted or maintained properly, catheters can allow germs to enter the urinary tract which can lead to infection. To reduce the risk of infection, it is important to promote appropriate catheter use, follow evidence-based practices when catheters are in place and remove these devices as soon as they are no longer medically necessary.

How is The Queen’s Health System Performing Compared to the Nation? 

The Queen’s Health System reports out all identified CAUTI to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).  A standardized infection ratio (SIR) is calculated by NHSN, which is a risk-adjusted summary measure that compares the observed number of infections to the predicted number of infections during a selected time period. The measure takes into account risk factors that may impact the number of infections at a facility, including facility size, the types of patients treated and kinds of procedures performed.

SIRs below one indicate that the observed number of infections during the measured period was lower than would be expected, while values above one indicate that the observed number of infections was higher than expected.

lower is better


What Are We Doing to Prevent CAUTI?

The Queen’s Health System has many preventative efforts underway to minimize CAUTI risk throughout the hospital.  Here are the highlights:

  • Urinary catheters are only used when medically necessary. Alternatives, such as external urinary catheters, are used whenever possible
  • Urinary catheters are removed when they are no longer appropriate for the patient. Nurses regularly assess, document and communicate the plan for catheter
  • Health care personnel receive daily electronic reminders to assess if a catheter is still medically necessary for each patient
  • Only properly trained nurses and health care personnel insert and maintain catheters
  • Patients and families are educated on best practices to reduce CAUTI
  • Review all CAUTI events to identify and work on any opportunities to improve