Government and Regulations

Tested Tools to Reduce Catheter-Associated UTIs

To reduce the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality releases a tool kit to promote patient safety.


Hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are largely preventable, yet they affect about 250,000 hospital patients each year at a cost of about $250 million.

About one-quarter of all patients have a urinary catheter placed during their hospital stay, which puts them at risk for infection. Preventing or stopping the infections would not only be better for patients, but would also reduce the chance of creating superbugs. To that end, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a new tool kit to help combat CAUTIs. The tool kit is the latest in a series of AHRQ tools and training materials that “help frontline providers go beyond the ‘what’ of improving care to actually show them ‘how’ to make changes in workflow processes to keep patients safer,” AHRQ says.

The tool kit is part of a 4-year project to promote the use of the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP), a custom program that combines best practices with an increased focus on teamwork, AHRQ says. Based on the experiences of more than 1,200 hospitals that successfully reduced CAUTI while participating in AHRQ’s nationwide CUSP project, the tool kit includes checklists, modifiable teaching tools, and resources to help clinical teams decide when and how to safely use catheters.

Designed by Johns Hopkins researchers, it proved to significantly reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections in ICUS. Preliminary studies show CUSP reduces CAUTIs by about 15%.

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