Reducing foley catheter device days in an intensive care unit: using the evidence to change practice

AACN Adv Crit Care. 2006 Jul-Sep;17(3):272-83. doi: 10.4037/15597768-2006-3006.


The prolonged use of indwelling urinary catheters can lead to many complications, the most prevalent being urinary tract infections. These hospital-acquired infections can increase hospital costs, length of stay, and mortality rates. Evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of urinary tract infections are compared and discussed. Minimizing indwelling urinary catheter use is well-recognized in the literature to reduce the risk of these infections. To decrease the incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the staff of a 22-bed, mixed medical, surgical, and trauma intensive care unit focused on reducing the number of foley catheter device days. A multidisciplinary team was convened to create an evidence-based plan. Staff nurses were engaged in the development and implementation of the plan. Criteria-based foley catheter guidelines, a decision-making algorithm, and a daily checklist were implemented that led to a significant reduction in foley catheter device days and a decrease in catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Catheters, Indwelling
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Risk Management / methods*
  • United States
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Urinary Catheterization / nursing*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*