What is a catheter-associated urinary tract infection?

The “urinary tract” refers to the organs that produce, store, and discharge urine. These organs include the kidneys, ureters and urethra, and bladder. A catheter is a thin tube placed in the bladder to drain urine. Infections can be caused when germs travel along the catheter.

Why we measure the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections:

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are associated with longer stays in the hospital, higher costs, and sickness. These infections are treatable, but often, they are also preventable.

How we measure:

The number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections per 1,000 catheter line days. Each day that a patient has a catheter counts as one catheter line day.CAUTI Chart

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What we are doing to improve:

  • Reviewing every day whether or not each patient with a catheter still needs one (according to CDC guidelines)
  • Removing catheters when patients don’t need them
  • Nursing staff follow best practices for inserting and maintaining catheters to help prevent infection
    • Medical teams review each infection to see if anything could have been done differently, or if we can do anything to improve next time.

What can families do to help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections?

  • Encourage your child’s medical team and all visitors to wash their hands
  • Ask your child’s medical team to explain if your child needs a catheter, and why
  • Ask your child’s medical team about what they are doing to prevent catheter-associated infections in your child