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Reminding health-care staff to remove catheters reduces infections by half
Date:8/16/2010

Ann Arbor, Mich. Urinary catheters are often left in place longer than needed, and new research shows that reminder systems that encourage hospital staff to remove catheters promptly can reduce the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 52 percent.

The review and meta-analysis was published July 30 in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases. The catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is the most common hospital acquired infection and was the first complication chosen for non-payment by Medicare, beginning in late 2008. Other insurers have now followed suit.

Lead author Jennifer Meddings, M.D., and her U-M colleagues studied the effectiveness of reminder systems to decrease catheter use and reduce CAUTIs. They found that reminder systems that prompt hospital staff to assess and remove catheters on a routine basis reduced the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 52%.

"We are also excited about the potential for reminder systems to have a cascade of benefits to patients beyond prevention of CAUTI, because reducing catheter use can improve patient comfort, reduce bloodstream infections, reduce need for antibiotics, improve patient mobility and decrease length-of-stay," says Meddings, a clinical lecturer in U-M's Department of Internal Medicine.

Urinary catheters are commonly placed to drain bladders in hospitalized patients. Unfortunately, catheters are often left in place longer than needed because doctors forget the catheter is still being used or do not routinely assess if it is still needed. Having a catheter increases the patient's risk for catheter-associated urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, and other risks associated with decreased patient mobility when catheters are in place, such as life-threatening blood clots. But prior research by VA/U-M's Patient Safety Enhancement Program indicated that only 1 in 10 hospitals use reminders to prompt remova
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Contact: Mary Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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