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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections

What Are We Measuring?

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are the most common type of healthcare-associated infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the UTI’s acquired in the hospital, approximately 75% are associated with a urinary catheter, which is a tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine. The greatest risk factor for catheter associated UTI (CAUTI) is the prolonged use of the urinary catheter. Urinary catheters should be removed when no longer needed.  

A CAUTI occurs when germs enter the urinary tract through the urinary catheter and cause infection. The risk of CAUTI can be decreased by following sterile technique during insertion of the urinary catheter, keeping the sterile draining system intact, and removing the urinary catheter as soon as possible.

How Are We Performing?

National reporting databases report CAUTI using a standardized infection ratio (SIR). SIR predicts the number of infections based on the standard population. The benchmark is established based on the number of predicted CAUTI to be expected for those receiving care at Hendricks Regional Health. A SIR greater than 1.0 indicates that more CAUTIs were observed than were predicted. A SIR less than 1.0 indicates that fever CAUTIs were observed than predicted. The graph below reflects data publicly released in January 2022 for a selected period of time. Learn more by visiting Medicare.gov Care Compare.


What Are We Doing to Improve?

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are able to be minimized when catheter placement can be avoided and when nurses remove a catheter as soon as possible. Strategies to avoid CAUTI include: 
  • The use of a bedside bladder scanner to detect bladder fullness to possibly avoid catheter placement
  • The use of external urinary collection devices as an alternative to catheter placement

Best practices when catheter placement cannot be avoided include:

  • Handwashing, gloves, and the use of a standard kit including patient education and all the needed catheter supplies to assure the best possible placement by trained associates
  • The electronic health record reminds the nurse when a catheter has been in for 24 hours, asking if the catheter can be removed. If still needed by the patient a reminder happens again every 8 hours until removal
  • Care is taken to follow a CAUTI prevention bundle including keeping the catheter and it’s bag from being exposed to bacteria by emptying the bag frequently and keeping the tubing straight; handwashing is performed anytime the catheter or bag is going to be touched

Learn More

Click here for a helpful resource about Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections provided by the CDC.

We encourage patients and family members to use many of the different resources available to compare and choose a hospital or healthcare provider. Examples include Medicare.gov Care Compare and Leapfrog Ratings as well as talking with your doctor.