Reminder systems that encourage hospital staff to remove catheters reduce the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 52%, according to a review and meta-analysis published in the July 30 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. The research was conducted by University of Michigan researchers.
Prior research indicates that only one in 10 hospitals use reminders to prompt removal of urinary catheters. Many hospitals use what can be a cumbersome approach requiring several steps, including physician orders for catheter removal.
Catheter reminder systems function by bypassing several of these steps. The reminders can take many forms, from being computer-generated to handwritten.
The authors of this study note that hospitals should consider nurse-empowered catheter stop orders, which empower nurses to remove urinary catheters based upon criteria, without requiring the nurse to request an order from physicians. The researchers also found no evidence that reminder systems would lead to catheters being removed too early, as catheters did not need to be replaced at higher rates.