Despite the intense challenges that health care teams experienced during COVID-19 surges, some hospitals and health systems were able to minimize and reduce rates of health care-associated infections.
Alaska Native Medical Center, based in Anchorage, recorded a 9% decrease in the standardized infection ratio for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in 2020, compared to 2019. In addition, ANMC recorded zero CAUTIs from April through December of 2021.
A combination of factors contributed to achieving zero infections, including:
- Designating a physician champion who led and helped increase visibility of the efforts.
- Enhancing training on appropriate and inappropriate indications for catheter placement and the proper technique for catheter placement.
- Ensuring appropriate use of urine cultures and the nontreatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria.
- Using real-time data surveillance systems that can track every patient with indwelling urinary catheters, giving team members the information needed for monitoring.
- Doing daily rounds using an audit tool created by clinic staff supervisors to help hardwire the process and improve communication.
- Sharing daily and bidirectional communication updates that contributed to a sense of teamwork and accomplishment.
Key to the success of reducing CAUTI across the organization have been the bedside nurses, who are wonderful advocates for their patients and committed to continuous quality improvement.
Efforts continue at Alaska Native Medical Center to maintain zero CAUTIs. The team is now exploring alternatives to indwelling urinary catheters, providing reiterative trainings, reinforcing RNs as patient safety advocates and showcasing results with up-to-date data.
Targeted Problem: CAUTI
- Identified and engaged a physician champion
- Provided reiterative trainings, and real-time data allowing teams to see the results of their efforts by unit and location
- Rounded daily with completion of an audit tool leading to bi-directional communication
- Explored alternatives to indwelling urinary catheters
- Reinforced and supported nurses as patient safety advocates
Impact: Achieved zero CAUTIs in last three quarters of 2021