With catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) ranking as a common healthcare-associated infection, the Joint Commission (JC) has released a new report explaining its new National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) on CAUTIs for nursing care centers. The JC also published an updated goal for critical-access hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

“An estimated 1 to 3 million healthcare-associated infections strike nursing home residents annually, and many of these are infections related to urinary catheters,” says David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president of the JC’s Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation. “And, the rate of these infections is even higher for hospital patients.”

“This is why The Joint Commission felt it was important to implement its new National Patient Safety Goal for nursing care centers and an updated goal for hospitals and critical access hospitals to reflect the latest scientific evidence,” he adds.

Effective January 1, the new NPSG for Joint Commission accredited nursing care centers will require nursing care centers to “implement evidence-based practices to prevent indwelling CAUTIs.”

The same NPSG, already applicable to accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals, includes several revisions to its elements of performance (EPs) to align with current scientific evidence as documented in the 2014 update to A Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals.

The new EPs include:

  • Educating staff and licensed independent practitioners involved in the use of indwelling urinary catheters about CAUTI and the importance of infection prevention
  • Developing written criteria, using established evidence-based guidelines, for placement of an indwelling urinary catheter
  • Following written procedures based on established evidence-based guidelines for inserting and maintaining an indwelling urinary catheter
  • Measuring and monitoring CAUTI prevention processes and outcomes in high-volume areas

The JC anticipates the new and revised NPSGs will improve patient safety and quality of care by reducing morbidity and mortality, as well as healthcare costs and length of stays associated with CAUTIs. The report available here.