What do patients say about their experience with urinary catheters and peripherally inserted central catheters?

Am J Infect Control. 2019 Sep;47(9):1130-1134. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.05.031. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Background: Little is known about the patient experience with urinary catheters or peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). We sought to better understand patient perspectives on having a urinary catheter or a PICC by reviewing open-ended comments made by patients about having either of these 2 devices.

Methods: As part of a larger study, we asked patients about certain catheter-related complications at the time of catheter placement and on days 14, 30, and 70 (PICCs only). In this larger project, we performed a structured assessment that included an open-ended question about other comments (initial interview) or problems (follow-up interview) associated with the device. For the current study, we conducted a descriptive analysis of these open-ended comments, classifying them as positive, negative, or neutral.

Results: Positive comments about urinary catheters accounted for 9 of 147 comments (6%), whereas positive comments about PICCs accounted for 10 of 100 comments (10%). Positive comments for both catheter types were mostly related to convenience. More than 80% of comments about both types of devices were negative and fell into the following areas: catheter malfunction; pain, irritation, or discomfort; interference with activities of daily living; provider error; and other.

Conclusions: Our findings underscore the need to optimize the patient experience with placement, ongoing use, and removal of urinary catheters and PICCs.

Keywords: Medical device; PICC; Patient experience; Patient safety; Urinary catheter.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Urinary Catheterization / psychology*