3 Reasons Urinary Catheters are Overused in Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 28, 2013

While CAUTIs relatively rarely result in bloodstream infections and aren't usually associated with extremely expensive care or mortality, "how a hospital uses evidence based prevention techniques gives insight into how that hospital deals with similar types of hospital-acquired conditions, such as falls, pressure ulcers and clostridium difficile infections," he says.

The first of the two reports found that even in Michigan hospitals, three cultural habits block better CAUTI prevention efforts, explains Sarah Krein, PhD, RN, another principal investigator who is a general medicine research associate professor at the University of Michigan.

One habit that infection preventionists, clinical personnel, and senior executives have complained about is that they have had trouble getting physicians and nurses to understand the importance of removing catheters as soon as possible to prevent infections.

"CAUTI prevention just isn't always that high on their radar screens," Krein explains. "In some hospitals, physicians really don't pay that much attention to it because they have other things on their minds, and at some hospitals, there were physicians who thought there was no reason to pay attention to this. There was general disinterest."

Part of the problem is the concern, somewhat unfounded, that if urinary catheters are removed, patients will be more likely to try to go to the bathroom on their own and will fall, she says. However, the opposite could occur. People with catheters may not realize they have them, try to make their way to the bathroom on their own, and then trip.

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