Slashing CAUTI Rates

Sandra Gittlen, March 10, 2016

Leaders are finding that multipronged efforts can lead to reduced infection rates, though some experts caution about the potential for unintended consequences.

This article first appeared in the March 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Kerri Scanlon, RN, MSN, knows how important prevention of catheter-associated urinary tract infections is because, at age 20, she acquired one postsurgery.

"I was young and able to fight it off, but an 80-year-old patient with no reserves can't fight off a CAUTI," says Scanlon, chief nursing officer at North Shore University Hospital, an 812-staffed-bed teaching hospital in Manhasset, New York, and deputy chief nurse executive for the hospital's parent system, Northwell Health, a 21-hospital network based in Great Neck, New York.

Today Scanlon champions efforts in her hospital and the health system overall to slash CAUTI rates. CAUTIs occur when germs—usually bacteria—enter the urinary tract through the urinary catheter and cause infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such infections have been associated with increased morbidity, mortality, healthcare costs, and length of stay.

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