Sustained reductions in urinary catheter use over 5 years: bedside nurses view themselves responsible for evaluation of catheter necessity

Am J Infect Control. 2013 Mar;41(3):236-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.04.328. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


Background: Multiple approaches are needed to improve urinary catheter use and sustain compliance with the appropriate indications for catheter use.

Methods: We evaluated the effect of 3 interventions over 5 years: a nurse-driven multidisciplinary effort for early urinary catheter removal, an intervention in an emergency department to promote appropriate placement, and twice-weekly assessment of urinary catheter prevalence with periodic feedback on performance for nonintensive care units. We also assessed the views of bedside nurses, case managers, and nurse managers with respect to appropriate catheter use, how often need is assessed, and who they consider responsible for the evaluation of urinary catheter need.

Results: There was a significant reduction in urinary catheter use from 17.3%-12.7% during the 5-year period (linear regression with time as independent variable, R(2), 0.61; P < .0001). Of bedside nurses responding to the questionnaire, 222 of 227 (97.8%) identified themselves as responsible or as sharing the responsibility for catheter necessity evaluation, 223 of 229 (97.4%) were confident in their knowledge, and 166 of 222 (74.8%) viewed physicians as receptive to their requests for catheter removal >70% of the time.

Conclusions: A multifaceted approach to promote appropriate urinary catheter use is associated with sustained reductions in catheter use. Bedside nurses view themselves responsible for the evaluation of catheter presence and need.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control
  • Catheterization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Infection Control / trends
  • Nurses*
  • Urinary Catheters / statistics & numerical data*