Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs)

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are the fourth most common type of health care-associated infection. When germs use a urinary catheter to enter the urinary tract, an infection of the bladder or kidney is called a CAUTI. Each day that a urinary catheter remains in a person’s bladder, the risk of developing a CAUTI increases. In addition to proper cleaning and care, urinary catheters should be used only when absolutely needed and removed as soon as no longer medically necessary to avoid this type of HAI.

How does UAB Medicine perform?

Standardized infection ratio (SIR) is a number used to measure, track, and compare health care-associated infections (HAIs) among different health care settings and providers. This number compares the actual number of HAIs at each health care setting to the predicted number of infections based upon the type of patients treated in that particular setting. The national standard for the SIR is 1. Numbers greater than 1 indicate that the medical center is associated with more HAIs than predicted, while numbers smaller than 1 indicate that the medical center is associated with fewer HAIs than predicted.

Safe Care Measures National Benchmark for SIR UAB SIR Comparison Analysis
CAUTI (catheter-associated urinary tract infection) 1.0 0.675  

What is UAB Medicine doing to improve?

UAB Medicine’s CAUTI Prevention bundle uses the following evidence-based strategies. A bundle is a set of 3-5 health care practices that have been proven to reduce infection rates when used consistently together as a group. The CAUTI Prevention bundle includes the following strategies:

  • Avoid the use of urinary catheters. To decrease catheter use, UAB Medicine has implemented a short list of approved reasons for placing a urinary catheter. Any patient not meeting the criteria will not have a catheter placed, preventing infection associated with use of the device.
  • Decrease the amount of time a urinary catheter is left in place. A nurse-driven protocol to remove urinary catheters as soon as possible was created. This practice requires nursing staff to evaluate the need for a urinary catheter daily and allows authority to remove it as soon as it is no longer medically necessary according to the protocol.
  • Urinary catheters are placed under sterile conditions by staff who have demonstrated the ability to place competently.
  • Staff are educated in the proper care of urinary catheters to prevent bacteria from entering the urine bag or catheter.

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