Sustained improvements in peripheral venous catheter care in non-intensive care units: a quasi-experimental controlled study of education and feedback

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 May;33(5):449-55. doi: 10.1086/665322. Epub 2012 Mar 21.


Background and objectives: Peripheral venous catheters (PVCs) can be associated with serious infectious complications. We evaluated the effect of education and feedback on process measures to improve PVC care and infectious complications.

Design: Quasi-experimental controlled crossover study with sampling before and after education.

Setting: An 804-bed tertiary care teaching hospital.

Participants: Nurses and patients in 10 non-intensive care units.

Methods: We implemented a process to improve PVC care in 10 non-intensive care units. The 4 periods (each 3 months in duration) included a preintervention period and a staggered educational intervention among nurses. During intervention period 1, 5 units participated in the intervention (group A), and 5 units served as a control group (group B). Group B underwent the intervention during intervention period 2, and both groups A and B received feedback on performance during intervention period 3. Process measures were evaluated twice monthly, and feedback was given to nurses directly and to the unit manager on a monthly basis.

Results: During the preintervention period, there were no significant differences between groups A and B. Of 4,904 intravascular catheters evaluated, 4,434 (90.4%) were peripheral. By the end of the study, there were significant improvements in processes, compared with the preintervention period, including accurate documentation of dressing (from 442 cases [38%] to 718 cases [59%]; P < .0001), catheter dressing being intact (from 968 cases [88.5%] to 1,024 cases [95.2%]; P < .0001), and correct demonstration of scrubbing the hub before infusion (from 161 demonstrations [54%] to 316 demonstrations [95%]; P < .0001). There was a significant reduction in PVC-associated bloodstream infection, from 2.2 cases per 10,000 patient-days during the preintervention period (5 cases) to 0.44 cases per 10,000 patient days during the 3 intervention periods (3 cases; P = .016).

Conclusions: Education and real-time feedback to nurses increases and sustains compliance with processes to reduce the risk of infection from PVCs.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / standards*
  • Feedback*
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*