Preventing Hospital-Acquired Urinary Tract Infection in the United States: A National Study

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Background.Although urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection in the United States, to our knowledge, no national data exist describing what hospitals in the United States are doing to prevent this patient safety problem. We conducted a national study to examine the current practices used by hospitals to prevent hospital-acquired UTI.Methods.We mailed written surveys to infection control coordinators at a national random sample of nonfederal US hospitals with an intensive care unit and ≥50 hospital beds (n=600) and to all Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals (n=119). The survey asked about practices to prevent hospital-acquired UTI and other device-associated infections.Results.The response rate was 72%. Overall, 56% of hospitals did not have a system for monitoring which patients had urinary catheters placed, and 74% did not monitor catheter duration. Thirty percent of hospitals reported regularly using antimicrobial urinary catheters and portable bladder scanners; 14% used condom catheters, and 9% used catheter reminders. VA hospitals were more likely than non-VA hospitals to use portable bladder scanners (49% vs. 29%; P<.001), condom catheters (46% vs. 12%; P<.001), and suprapubic catheters (22% vs. 9%; P<.001); non-VA hospitals were more likely to use antimicrobial urinary catheters (30% vs. 14%; P=.002).Conclusions.Despite the strong link between urinary catheters and subsequent UTI, we found no strategy that appeared to be widely used to prevent hospital-acquired UTI. The most commonly used practices—bladder ultrasound and antimicrobial catheters—were each used in fewer than one-third of hospitals, and urinary catheter reminders, which have proven benefits, were used in <10% of US hospitals.

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