The AACN issued a new Practice Alert to stress the importance of catheter assessments to help identify early signs of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). This alert is the latest in a collection of evidence based guidelines issued to standardize care for hospitalized patients and educate nurses on new trends and health care advances.
The AACN expects nurses and nursing units to develop written guidelines for indwelling urinary catheters, use alternatives to indwelling catheters when possible, provide training programs for catheter insertion techniques, perform daily reviews regarding the need for continued catheterization, ensure prompt removal of a catheter when it is no longer needed, implement surveillance programs and develop plans of action to address any needs for improvement. The goal is to address other alternatives before using an indwelling urinary catheter, adhere to strict aseptic technique during insertion of a catheter, document insertion date, reason for catheter, date removed and to promptly discontinue urinary catheters when they are no longer needed.
Indwelling urinary catheters are very beneficial to many hospitalized patients and are many times used on a short term bases. However, other patients may require an indwelling urinary catheter for an extended period of time to assist in keeping urine away from the skin or to accurately monitor urine output. If a catheter must remain in the patient for an extended period of time, it could become a breeding ground for bacteria or infections that have the opportunity to travel up into the bladder. Any bacteria in the bladder can lead to a urinary tract infection, kidney infection, pyelonephritis, or urosepsis. Urosepsis occurs when the bacteria that was in the bladder, invades the blood stream and causes sepsis, blood poisoning, or an overwhelming infection in the body. If not treated, sepsis could lead to septic shock and even death.
Practice alerts and protocols such as the one the AACN just released are extremely valuable and important to help decrease the incidence of injuries or infections in hospitalized patients, especially critically ill patients. All too often, the physicians and nurses here at The Beasley Firm, review cases where a patient had an indwelling catheter that went unmanaged or an infection untreated that led to sepsis or even death. Just like the AACN, our experienced medical teams realize the hidden dangers urinary catheters pose if they are not maintained or removed in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, despite the AACN's important Practice Alert on urinary catheter safety, there will be some hospitals, nurses, doctors or critical care units that sadly, will not implement AACN's recommendations and patients will continue to develop indwelling catheter infections or sepsis.
If you or a loved one suffered due to a bladder infection caused by a urinary catheter or developed urosepsis, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, doctors or critical care nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation. To date, we have had numerous million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our injured clients. We were there for them when they needed us and we are here for you now.