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Preventing the spread of HAIs in hospitals
March 16th, 2015
In an effort to control and prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections in hospitals, several organizations, including the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Infectious Disease Society of America, the American Hospital Association, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and The Joint Commission, have released A Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals: 2014 Updates.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 15-25% of hospitalized patients receive urinary catheters during their hospital stay. The most important risk factor for developing a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is prolonged use of the urinary catheter. Therefore, catheters should only be used for appropriate indications and should be removed as soon as they are no longer needed.
“Because of the widespread use of catheters, urinary tract infections are one of the most common infections acquired by patients,” said Evelyn Lo, MD, co-lead author of the guidelines. “These strategies will help hospitals implement best practices for CAUTI prevention to curb catheter overuse and misuse, and foster a culture of accountability from the C-Suite to the front lines of medical care.”
The guidelines suggest:
- Avoiding complications due to misuse of catheters, the authors highlight protocols that address proper insertion and maintenance techniques to prevent CAUTIs.
- Reducing overuse, the guidance emphasizes the importance of education among healthcare professionals to highlight alternatives to catheters, as well as stressing the need to question in each patient’s individual care plan if the device is actually necessary.
- Recording progress in CAUTI prevention, each hospital is advised to create a program that can spotlight effective strategies and areas for improvement.
“Preventing healthcare-associated infections is a national priority,” said Deborah Yokoe, MD, MPH, who co-led the development of the Compendium. “Although substantial progress has been achieved, considerable deficiencies remain in our ability to efficiently and effectively translate knowledge about HAI prevention into reliable, sustainable practice. The Compendium focuses on an integrated approach to infection prevention and control, steeped in science and scaled to facilitate adoption of the practices and improve the quality of care for patients.”