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In my day to day work, I have realized that most of my patients constantly acquire Urinary tract infection. The main cause for this has been the constant use of urethral catheter by the patients. This often occurs in elderly patients, stroke patients and neuro-surgical patients admitted in the hospital who are frequently under the use of catheters.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most commonly acquired hospital infection, usually associated with the use of indwelling urinary catheters. UTI is an infection of the urethra, bladder or kidneys that occurs when bacteria gain access to the urinary system. This makes a patientís urine to have bacteria yet it is usually sterile. This type of infection occurs more often in women as compared to men because of the difference in anatomy of urethra and bladder. A urinary catheter on the other hand is a thin tube placed in a patientís bladder to assist in draining the urine (Gensini, 2011). Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the catheter tube during the insertion of catheter. A person may suffer from a CAUTI and not experience any major symptoms. Common symptoms of UTIs include; pain in the lower abdomen, cloudy urine and burning sensation while urinating.

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The high rise of CAUTI infection is not only a safety issue on the part of the patient but a concern to the government which has to incur high costs in provision of medication to the infected patients. The infection generates unexpected costs that strains hospitals as they are forced to use unplanned resources to counter the infection. Lack of information regarding the issue contributes to its increase. Medical practitioners should be sensitized on the best and effective ways of preventing the spread of the infection. Even with provision of best care eliminating CAUTI infection remains a challenge to healthcare providers.

In order to understand the gravity of the problem, we will look into statistics relating to the infection. CAUTI leads to extended stay in hospital by patients than expected. This is in order to nurse the infection and undergo the necessary procedures aimed at eradicating the infection. This infection is also the leading cause of bloodstream infection whose treatment offers antibiotic resistance. It is estimated that about 15-25% of admitted patients will at some point have a urinary catheter thus making them vulnerable to the infection. Cost per CAUTI infection ranges from $700-$1100 in US. This leads to financial burden on the patient or the people who have to meet the cost.

Urinary catheters should not be used as a substitute for nursing care or to obtain samples of urine except when itís of major importance. The best way to prevent CAUTI is to carefully limit the use of catheters by identifying situations for which the use of urinary catheter is indicated.† Such indications will include; urological surgery, urinary drainage, relief of obstruction inherent to the urinary tract and recording of urinary output in critically ill patients. Other strategies aimed at reducing the infection are use of different catheter materials and sizes, applying alternative methods of drainage, enhancing nursing care and bladder irrigation. Catheters should be handled by specialists in aseptic techniques of insertion and strict washing of hands ought to be done when handling the gadgets.

UTI associated with the use of urinary catheters is a major cause of mortality, morbidity and high expenses especially in elderly patients. The effective way of preventing CAUTI is limiting the use urinary catheters. The use of catheters should always be the last option. If these measures are put in place, we are likely to observe great reduction of the infection and cut on the cost of medication for the infected patients.

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