Reducing inappropriate urinary catheter use: a statewide effort

Arch Intern Med. 2012 Feb 13;172(3):255-60. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.627. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


Background: Indwelling urinary catheters may lead to both infectious and noninfectious complications and are often used in the hospital setting without an appropriate indication. The objective of this study was to evaluate the results of a statewide quality improvement effort to reduce inappropriate urinary catheter use.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of data collected between 2007 and 2010 as part of a statewide collaborative initiative before, during, and after an educational intervention promoting adherence to appropriate urinary catheter indications. The data were collected from 163 inpatient units in 71 participating Michigan hospitals. The intervention consisted of educating clinicians about the appropriate indications for urinary catheter use and promoting the daily assessment of urinary catheter necessity during daily nursing rounds. The main outcome measures were change in prevalence of urinary catheter use and adherence to appropriate indications. We used flexible generalized estimating equation (GEE) and multilevel methods to estimate rates over time while accounting for the clustering of patients within hospital units.

Results: The urinary catheter use rate decreased from 18.1% (95% CI, 16.8%-19.6%) at baseline to 13.8% (95% CI, 12.9%-14.8%) at end of year 2 (P < .001). The proportion of catheterized patients with appropriate indications increased from 44.3% (95% CI, 40.3%-48.4%) to 57.6% (95% CI, 51.7%-63.4%) by the end of year 2 (P = .005).

Conclusions: A statewide effort to reduce inappropriate urinary catheter use was associated with a significant reduction in catheter use and improved compliance with appropriate use. The effect of the intervention was sustained for at least 2 years.

MeSH terms

  • Catheters, Indwelling / standards*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Michigan
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Unnecessary Procedures*
  • Urinary Catheterization / standards*
  • Urinary Catheterization / statistics & numerical data*