Research has shown that urinary catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common healthcare–associated infections both in the United States and throughout the world. Studies indicate that up to 69% of urinary catheter-associated UTIs are avoidable if clinicians use recommended infection-prevention practices when managing patients.
According to current guidelines, several strategies are recommended to prevent these infections. These include using the devices appropriately, aseptic insertion, proper maintenance, and timely removal of indwelling urinary catheters in addition to using established practices, such as hand hygiene.
In addition to the technical aspects of prevention, there has been a focus on instituting behavioral and cultural changes to further improve quality of care, according to IHPI member Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH. “Preventing catheter-associated UTIs has emerged as a priority in the United States,” he says. Catheter-associated UTI was the first hospital-acquired complication chosen by CMS in 2008 as the basis for denial of additional payment to hospitals. Since that time, more initiatives have been launched to provide strategic guidance for preventing infections in acute care hospitals. Despite these efforts, national data indicate that the incidence of catheter-associated UTI increased by 6% from 2009 to 2013.
Recently, the AHRQ and several other partners launched a nationwide effort to implement the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program to reduce catheter-associated UTIs in ICUs as well as non-ICUs. “This effort involved an explicit focus on the technical and socioadaptive aspects of preventing catheter-associated UTIs,” says Dr. Saint.