New effort cuts catheter-related UTIs

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An interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals at a Nebraska rehabilitation hospital succeeded in reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 89% over 14 months, according to a new study.

Investigators described the team approach they applied at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, NE, when they presented their research at the recent 38th Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

The team's first step was discontinuing the use of urinary catheters that were not medically necessary; in cases where catheters were essential, the team educated nurses, therapy staff, family members and patients on proper care to reduce the chance of infection.

The team updated bladder management protocols, such as continually re-assessing each catheter's appropriateness. Then they implemented a new “decatheterization protocol,” to safely remove medically unnecessary catheters.

“We looked at every facet of bladder management, including better ways to assist patients to the bathroom in a timely manner, and different types of commodes,” said team leader Kristina Felix.