Catheter-Associated Infection Risks in Hospital Stays

Are you worried about potential infection risks during your hospital stay? Perhaps you should be. Hundreds of thousands of patients acquire an infection every year while in the hospital, unrelated to their illness or treatment. Of these infections, a full 40 percent are urinary tract infections, primarily resulting from improper catheter usage. Here’s what you need to know about catheter-associated infections acquired while in the hospital.

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects the kidneys, bladder and other structures of the urinary system. Patients with UTIs often experience burning and pain in the lower abdomen, burning during urination and an increase in urination frequency. Nearly 80 percent of all hospital-acquired urinary tract infections are attributable to indwelling or bladder-inserted urethral catheters. A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the inserted tube. Not only do CAUTIs cause pain and urinary difficulties, but they also increase the length of hospital stays and health care costs for patients.

Infection Risks from Hospital Catheter Usage

Catheter usage is quite common in hospitals, with about 20 percent of admitted patients getting catheters inserted during their stays. Prolonged use of a urinary catheter puts patients at the greatest infection risk for developing a CAUTI. While UTIs are generally simple to treat, this isn’t always the case for CAUTIs. Like other hospital-acquired infections, CAUTIs are often resistant to standard treatment protocols. Also, it may be difficult to diagnose a CAUTI, as the symptoms may be similar to those of the patient’s original medical condition. An untreated CAUTI can lead to a severe kidney infection, high fever and debilitating pain, making prompt treatment essential.

Reducing the Infection Risk of Catheter Usage

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CAUTIs are reasonably preventable, and therefore, they do not reimburse hospitals for the costs of caring for patients who acquire these infections during hospitalization. Because of this, hospitals attempt reduce the infection risk for patients. Along with minimizing the use of indwelling catheters in patients, most hospitals try to reduce the duration of their use. Hospitals also have protocols for medical professionals to follow regarding proper usage techniques and the care of catheter patients. Nevertheless, the statistics show that not enough is being done to prevent this type of infection.

No should have to suffer an infection because of catheter use. If you or a family member have acquired a catheter-associated infection in a Utah hospital, contact the professionals at Rasmussen and Miner. You may be entitled to compensation related to infection risks and catheter use in the hospital.