Why is reducing incidence of CAUTIs critically important?

Did you know that up to 50% of urinary catheterisation is carried out without robust clinical indication.1 Studies also show that up to 56% of UTIs are associated with an indwelling urinary catheter, with each CAUTI thought to cost the NHS £1,122 per patient.2,3 In this blog we’ll explore what we can do to help bring these numbers down.

CAUTIs have been associated with:4

  • Increased morbidity/mortality
  • Increased length of stay in hospital
  • Higher hospital costs for patients and health systems.


The BIG Issue

Catheterisation. Or more accurately ‘inappropriate catheterisation’. Best practice guidelines from NICE aim to avoid subjective catheterisation, with studies suggesting catheterisation should always be the last resort after other methods have been tried and failed.5,6 Another study highlights that strategies for reducing inappropriate urinary catheterisation are infrequently implemented in practice; despite a consensus that such strategies are effective.A potential contributor in these instances is often time pressure on staff and the lack of awareness of alternative solutions. 


If it’s such a big issue, why aren’t people doing anything about it?

The quick answer is; people are doing something about it – just not enough people! Many healthcare facilities in the UK and abroad have already adopted alternative methods to reduce avoidable catheterisation, including the introduction of disposable female toileting aids. One such example is Vernacare’s new improved VernaFem Female Urinal.

VernaFem provides a safer alternative to subjective and/or inappropriate catheterisation. The ergonomic design promotes self-toileting, preserving patient dignity and empowering patients to toilet themselves with little or no assistance from healthcare staff. Discover more here.


Is VernaFem only intended for people using catheters?

No, VernaFem is also an ideal alternative to incontinence pads/ pants. An increase in skin pH, from prolonged contact with urine and faeces, allows micro-organisms to thrive and increases the risk of skin infection and often incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD).

Did you know? A study found that 32% of patients with IAD had a rash indicative of a fungal infection. Would you like to know more about IAD? read our skin care blog here.


What if you’re worried about spillage?

The VernaFem has plenty of capacity, however for those wanting a little extra reassurance, just pop one of our VernaGel sachets in before use.

Our new improved VernaGel range come conveniently packaged in 7g sachets, able to absorb up to 1.2 litres of liquid, helping to not only eliminate spillages, but also reduce the risk of cross-infection and allow easier disposal. If you would like to know more about VernaGel click here.


How important is personal hygiene to CAUTI rates?

Very. One study in America found that by removing ‘traditional’ patient bathing practices of using a plastic washbowl and replacing it with pre-packaged bed bathing wipes, they were able to show a significant reduction in CAUTI rates of 88%.9 Vernacare’s range of pre-impregnated patient bathing products are also key in helping to reduce CAUTI rates by maintaining high levels of personal hygiene and eliminating re-usable plastics. Discover more here.

Get On-Board

If you’d like to learn more about anything you’ve read, get in touch and don’t forget to follow our journey on Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ve got some exciting new products in the pipeline that we’re looking forward to sharing with you soon.




  1. Shackley DC, Whytock C, Parry G et al. (2017) Variation in the prevalence of urinary catheters: a profile of national health service patients in England. BMJ Open 7(6): e013842
  2. Mantle S (2015) Reducing HCAIs – What the commissioner needs to know. NHS England, London. england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04//09-amr-brim-reducing-hcai.pdf
  3. High Impact Intervention No.6 (Urinary Catheter Care Bundle) Department of Health (2010)
  4. Saint S. (2000) Clinical and economic consequences of nosocomial catheter-related bacteriuria. AJIC 2000;28:68–75.
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2017) Healthcare-associated infections: Prevention and control in primary and community care. Clinical guidance 139. NICE, London. nice.org.uk/guidance/cg139/ifp/chapter/long-term-use-of-urinary-catheters
  6. Simpson P (2017) Long-term urethral catheterisation: guidelines for community nurses. BJN 26(9 Suppl): S22-S26
  7. Kennedy E, Greene T, Saint S. (2013) Estimating Hospital Costs of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection. Journal of Hospital Medicine
  8. Campbell JL, Coyer FM, Osborne SR . Incontinenceassociated dermatitis: a cross-sectional prevalence study in the Australian acute care hospital setting. Int Wound J 2014; doi:10.1111/iwj.12322
  9. Stone S, et al., Removal of bath basins to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Poster presented at APIC 2010, New Orleans, LA, July 2010.

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