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Hollywood Hospital's Trend-Setting Program to Drastically Cut Infections
Date:3/9/2009

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A leading cause of infections in hospitals can be dramatically reduced, says a recent study from Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC). The program, cheap and easy to implement, is sparking intrigue among medical experts across California.

HPMC is the first acute care facility to successfully limit its reliance on an invasive technique for collecting patient urine, currently under increased scrutiny for causing deadly infections in hospitals.

The industry standard for draining and measuring urine output from patients requires a thin tube, called a Foley Catheter, to be inserted into the bladder through the urethra.

"The majority of very ill patients are given catheters in the ER and the ICU," explained Dr. Alan F. Rothfeld, who led the six-month study, from January to October 2008, to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infection (UTI) at HPMC's ICU step down units. "It is a long tradition with roots that go back more than a century."

But growing concern over the technique's fatal risks have hospitals reevaluating its benefits. "Foley-related urinary infections are the most common hospital acquired infection with a mortality of 10-35% and additional costs of about $50,000 per episode," Rothfeld said, noting that new incontinence management products now offer cheaper and more effective alternatives.

Plain paper diapers were the prior alternatives. "This was unacceptable to patients and nurses as they were always wet as were the patient and the bed," he said, adding the new super-absorbent diapers, manufactured by Medline Restore, stay dry and hold significantly more urine per day.

"Urine output can be measured with catheters but it can be measured even more accurately by weighing these diapers," Rothfeld said. "Accuracy is important if you need to know a patient's real fluid balance."

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SOURCE Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
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