A toolkit has been developed for hospitals to reduce patient catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) by improving workflow processes, safety culture, and teamwork.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a toolkit to help hospitals reduce patient catheter-associated urinary tract infections, or CAUTIs. CAUTIs are a type of hospital-acquired infection that can occur while a patient is in the hospital for treatment, and unfortunately affect a quarter of a million patients each year.
Catheters are required by 25% of hospitalized patients in the United States, and there is an increased risk of developing an infection with the insertion of a catheter, especially if health care providers do not practice proper aseptic techniques to prevent bacteria from entering the patient’s body through the catheter tube. These preventable infections facilitate the need for antibiotic treatment, and also propagate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The patient safety toolkit to reduce CAUTIs is the product of a four-year long AHRQ project and was developed from subject matter expertise and the experiences of over 1 200 hospitals across the U.S. that successfully reduced these infections. The toolkit builds upon an existing comprehensive unit-based safety framework and is composed of three customizable modules focusing on implementation, sustainability, and resources. Strategies within these modules are to be used by hospital unit teams to improve workflow processes, safety culture, and teamwork to decrease CAUTIs and other associated risks. Process improvement documents such as checklists are included to help teams decide whether a catheter is required by the patient, as well as special resources for physicians and nurses in intensive care and emergency departments.
Preliminary results implementing CAUTI-reducing strategies in hospitals show a 15% reduction in the rate of CAUTIs and other hospital-associated infections.
AHRQ Toolkit for Reducing CAUTI in Hospitals: Toolkit for Reducing CAUTI in Hospitals. October 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
Written by Fiona Wong, PhD