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ANA CAUTI Prevention Tool

Download the ANA CAUTI Prevention Tool!  Click here for the companion guidance document


Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) are the most commonly reported hospital-acquired condition, and the rates continue to rise. More than 560,000 patients develop CAUTI each year, leading to extended hospital stays, increased health care costs, and patient morbidity and mortality. RNs can play a major role in reducing CAUTI rates to save lives and prevent harm. ANA offers an innovative, streamlined, evidence-based clinical tool developed by leading experts.

Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) are a major threat to patient safety with costs estimated to be $33 billion American Journal of Infection Control - Abstract The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has identified a national strategy to reduce multiple health care-associated infections (HAI), a subset of HACs.  Nurses are linchpins in the efforts to reduce HAI to prevent avoidable harm, morbidity, and mortality, and reduce cost.

ANA has partnered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Partnership for Patients (PfP) in an effort to reduce avoidable HACs by 40% and reduce 30-day hospital readmissions by 20% compared to 2010. According to PfP, ANA and PfP’s partnership has already contributed to a significant reduction in multiple HACs and preventable 30-day readmissions. The U.S Department of Health & Human Services reported national reductions in adverse drug events, falls, some infections and other forms of harm are estimated to have prevented approximately 15,000 deaths in hospitals, decreased health care costs by $4.1 billion, and prevented 560,000 patient harms in 2011 and 2012.  

Rates of CAUTI are on the rise. Together with PfP, ANA has made CAUTI reduction a priority. As the leading voice of 4 million nurses, ANA seeks to engage the nation’s nurses in CAUTI reduction through effective use of an innovative, streamlined, evidence-based clinical tool.

Partnership for Patients

The Partnership for Patients (PfP) is focused on quality improvement, patient safety and cost-effective patient care. Launched in 2011, PfP convened health care providers, hospitals, patients, and government and other stakeholders in a quest to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions (HAC) by 40% and 30-day admissions by 20% by the end of 2014. The program is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through the end of 2014.

Through the PfP, 26 Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) are working to reduce HACs. Over 3,700 hospitals are currently operating within HEN as part of PfP. These organizations help identify, disseminate and engage interprofessional teams to use effective solutions that are reducing HACs. The PfP stakeholder partners work together to disseminate these findings to other hospitals and clinicians.  As an early and active partner of PfP, ANA leads multiple efforts with nurses to reduce HACs. In these efforts, ANA works closely with the ANA’s organizational affiliates.

Information for Patients and Families - What is CAUTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system, which includes the bladder and the kidneys. If you have a urinary catheter, bacteria or yeast can travel along the catheter and cause an infection in your bladder or kidney (also called Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections [CAUTI]).

Urinary catheters should only be used when absolutely necessary and should be removed as soon as possible.

Why is CAUTI important?

The Partnership for Patients (PfP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that although most HAC are improving, the rates for CAUTI are rising. According to the CDC, CAUTIs are the most commonly reported HAC to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) in the United States. Among urinary tract infections acquired in the hospital, approximately 75% are associated with urinary catheters. Therefore, it is important that the overuse of urinary catheters is reduced, and should be removed per nurse-driven evidence-based protocols. Nursing research has found there is no universally accepted evidence-based tool to reduce CAUTI as there are for other HAIs. As a partner of PfP, ANA took note of this tool gap and offers nurses an evidence-based, user-friendly tool to help prevent CAUTI in hospitals.

ANA Initiative to Prevent CAUTI

There are three areas to improve evidence-based clinical care to reduce the rate of CAUTI: (1) prevention of inappropriate short-term catheter use, (2) nurse-driven timely removal of urinary catheters, and (3) urinary catheter care during placement. Nursing screening and assessment and evidence-based management of urinary retention and incontinence is essential to reduce catheter overuse. ANA identified the opportunity to fill the tool gap and develop a steam lined evidence-based tool to reduce CAUTI.

Using a consensus process, ANA assembled a technical expert panel (TEP) of nursing clinical experts to develop and disseminate an evidence-based CAUTI reduction tool for nurses with support by PfP. TEP members include ANA members, representatives from its specialty nursing organizational affiliates, infection control specialists and patient safety authorities.

Nurse consultants from the PfP team and representatives from CDC were included in the panel. After extensive review of evidence-based guidelines, existing CAUTI reduction tools, and a focused review of the literature, ANA and other TEP members developed a two-part multi-factorial CAUTI reduction tool designed for nurses (link to tool here). The one-page tool is based on the CDC’s 2009 “Guideline for Prevention of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections.” (Guideline for Prevention of CAUTI - CDC) The evidence-based tool incorporates an algorithm to determine if a urinary catheter is appropriate based on nursing screening and assessments, as well as alternatives for retention and incontinence; timely removal; and a checklist on catheter insertion, cues for essential maintenance and post-removal care.

It is important that hospitals implement multiple successful “levers” that have been identified by the PfP and in the literature to successfully reduce CAUTI in addition to consistent use of the ANA CAUTI Prevention Tool. The ANA tool is essential to use as an effective practice change lever and is an important innovation to drive evidence-base care. In addition, additional levers have been identified including a safety culture, nurse-driven catheter removal (standing orders per protocols), incorporation of health information technology (e.g., clinical decision support and nurse protocols seamlessly cued to nurses in electronic health records), consultation by specialty nurses (e.g., nurses certified in wound, ostomy and continence nurses, urology, rehabilitation, infection control, geriatrics), and effective team-based programs such as Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP). By using multiple levers simultaneously, a tipping point to achieve reduction in the nation’s CAUTI rate can be achieved to save lives, prevent harm and reduce cost.

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