Catheter Care Cuts Infections in Half

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 17 (UPI) — Reducing hospital-acquired infections may be as simple as reducing the amount of time a urinary catheter is used, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Dr. Jennifer Meddings of the University of Michigan and colleagues say simple and low-cost interventions effectively reduce the most common hospital-acquired infection — catheter-associated urinary tract infections — by 52 percent.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 118 research articles and chose 14 studies.

Meddings says urinary catheters are commonly placed to drain bladders in hospitalized patients, but they are often left in place longer than necessary because doctors do not routinely assess whether they are still needed.

The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggests a way to reduce catheter use includes nurse-empowered catheter stop orders, which allow nurses to remove urinary catheters based upon criteria instead of waiting for a doctor’s order.

“We are also excited about the potential for reminder systems to have a cascade of benefits to patients beyond prevention of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, because reducing catheter use can improve patient comfort, reduce bloodstream infections, reduce need for antibiotics, improve patient mobility and decrease length-of-stay,” Meddings says in a statement.

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