Low adoption by large hospital ICUs of catheter-associated urinary tract infection precautions

Hospital size matters when it comes to intensive care units (ICUs) adopting even the most routine prevention policies for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), according to a new study from researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing, published this month in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study found that large hospitals—those with more than 500 beds —had a 1.5 higher average rate of CAUTI than hospitals with 500 beds or less. Since larger hospitals, particularly teaching hospitals treat patients who are often sicker, the finding that their ICUs have higher incidences of CAUTI, while still a cause of concern, was not unanticipated.

What was puzzling, say the researchers, is that ICUs in larger hospitals – those with the higher rates of CAUTI—were less likely to have implemented a CAUTI prevention policy.

"What we find so baffling is that the very hospitals that have the highest rates of CAUTI are not following the CAUTI preventive guidelines in their intensive care units," says the study's lead author Laurie J. Conway, RN, MS, CIC.

CAUTIs are common and costly occurrences in US hospitals and have been the target of recent national quality initiatives directed at infections acquired in hospital settings. Over the past 30 years, panels of experts in have unanimously recommended taking precautions to minimizing unnecessary urinary catheter use. Among the recommendations are substituting condom catheters for in dwelling catheters, using bladder ultrasound scanners to identify or rule out urinary retention, and using automated reminders, stop orders, or nurse-driven protocols to ensure catheters are discontinued as soon as they are no longer needed.

The researchers conclude that recent federal regulations requiring public reporting of CAUTI rates may serve to refocus attention on CAUTI prevention in ICUs in the United States.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nurse staffing, burnout linked to hospital infections

Jul 30, 2012

Nurse burnout leads to higher healthcare-associated infection rates (HAIs) and costs hospitals millions of additional dollars annually, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Co ...

Catheter chaos: Hospitals lag in preventing common infection

Jan 03, 2008

[B]No consistent strategy for dealing with urinary catheters, or ensuring their removal, means patients and families need to speak up[/B] One in four Americans in the hospital right now has a urinary catheter. One percent of ...

Recommended for you

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

2 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

18 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

Jan 30, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.