3 Reasons Urinary Catheters are Overused in Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 28, 2013

Those repercussions can take the form of pressure ulcers, lack of muscle strength, balance problems and falls not just within the hospital, but after the patient is discharged to home simply because the patient was catheterized in bed for long periods of time. "There are a lot of non-infectious harms related to the Foley catheter," he says.

A survey to update those findings is underway this year, and both Saint and Krein say they hope to see much better adoption of infection prevention strategies, not just in poorer performing states, but in Michigan as well.

In an invited commentary, Paul Pottinger of the University of Washington, Seattle, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, writes that "fewer than half of American hospitals are thought to deploy CAUTI prevention techniques in an organized fashion," even though there is a lot of documentation that the CAUTI prevention bundle can reduce infection rates.

The three obstacles Saint and Krein identified in their report are surmountable, Pottinger writes: "Education, empowerment, and engagement… nothing high-tech, nothing particularly expensive or glamorous. But these steps should yield real results."

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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