Expert Panel Develops Tool to Reduce Costly CAUTIs During Hospital Stays

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is spearheading an initiative to reduce catheter–associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) - one of the most common and costly infections contracted by patients in hospitals - through an assessment and decision-making tool registered nurses (RNs) and other clinicians can use at the bedside to determine the best way to provide care.

The initiative to implement the streamlined, evidenced-based tool into nursing practice nationwide is aimed at decreasing CAUTIs, which cause serious harm and even deaths, and increases in costs. Federal figures show CAUTIs affect 560,000 patients per year, which account for about 30 percent of all infections acquired in a hospital. Research indicates that 70 percent of the urinary tract infections - 380,000 cases and 9,000 deaths - could be prevented through consistent application of infection-control best practices.

The CAUTI Tool, designed to prevent harm and save lives, incorporates best practices based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The CAUTI Tool is a one-page guidance to assist clinicians in determining whether a urinary catheter is appropriate to insert; recommending alternative treatments for urinary retention and incontinence; evaluating indicators for timely catheter removal to prevent harm; and following a checklist on catheter insertion and cues for essential maintenance and post-removal care.

“Nurses can have a big influence on reducing urinary tract infections, since they are continually assessing patients to minimize the use of urinary catheters, and have sharp assessment and decision-making skills that will be enhanced by this concise guidance,” says ANA president Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “The CAUTI Tool is a great example of how nurses, physicians and other healthcare team members can collaborate on strategies that work best for patients.”

The CAUTI Tool and effective implementation strategies will be introduced to nursing leaders across the country at ANA’s National Quality Conference to be held Feb. 4-6, 2015. ANA also will disseminate the CAUTI Tool to the nation’s RNs, federal agencies and healthcare systems, geriatric and infection prevention organizations, and other associations.

ANA, along with the Partnership for Patients (Partnership) and the CDC, convened a technical expert panel to develop the CAUTI Tool. The Partnership, which includes hospitals, health care professionals, patient advocates, employers and government, is seeking to reduce hospital readmissions and harm that occurs during hospital stays, such as infections. The Partnership reports significant reductions in several types of hospital-acquired conditions; however, CAUTI rates continue to increase, largely because many factors can contribute to CAUTI and no universally accepted tool exists among clinicians for CAUTI prevention. To fill this gap in infection-prevention, ANA developed the CAUTI Tool. Fourteen hospitals participated in the Partnership’s pilot program to test and refine the CAUTI-reduction approach, and reported positive results.

These ANA affiliates contributed to the development of the tool: Association of periOperative Registered Nurses; Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses; Association of Rehabilitation Nurses; and Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.

Source: ANA