A pilot scheme to reduce infections following catheter insertions has shown a 100% fall within a hospital trust.
NHS Supply Chain is now encouraging acute trusts in England to take advantage of the scheme, which has shown to not only reduce infection rates, but shorten patient length of stay and save clinicians’ time.
Catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are not uncommon and can cause patients significant pain, discomfort, confusion, and anxiety for family and friends.
And they further impact healthcare with increased antibiotic use, prolonged hospital stays, increased clinical activity, and risk of complaints and litigation.
To combat this, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust audited its urethral catheterisation practice, and the way catheterised patients were cared for in clinical areas.
This exercise highlighted a wide variation in care delivery leading to inconsistent outcomes for patients and staff.
After reviewing the available options, the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust decided to pilot the BARD Tray, which contains all the essential items to catheterise or recatheterise a patient in one pack and includes the catheter with a pre-connected urine drainage bag.
This unique ‘closed system’ prevents ingress of bacteria and helps avoid catheter-related infection.
NHS Supply Chain: Rehabilitation, Disabled Services, Women’s Health and Associated Consumables worked alongside supplier, Becton Dickinson, to provide the tray products required by the trust.
And, during the three-month pilot, catheter-related infection rates fell by 100% at the trust, which coincided with a reduction in complaints and a reduced length of hospital stay for patients.
Clinicians reported that the pack was intuitive and saved around five minutes per catheterisation, which during the pilot process meant saving 83 hours from 1,000 catheterisation procedures.
While the BARD Tray was more expensive than the individual components that were currently purchased, the pilot study demonstrated the clinical and financial value that was delivered by the tray being implemented across an organisation.
The overall cost of components is slightly cheaper, but due to reduced catheterisations, consumables spend fell by 24%.
Katie Leek, lead nurse for tissue viability and continence at the trust, said: “The initial pilot study shows how we reduced the number of patients who had infections, how we made improvements in our clinical practice, and how we saved time for all our clinicians involved in catheterising people. We achieved all this and were able to show cost savings, too.
“It is really advantageous to have everything in one tray, including the catheter, the urine meter or leg bag, and everything else that is needed. Even the apron and sterile gloves are provided.”
The trust has now implemented the Bard Tray across its services via NHS Supply Chain.
Lauren Field, senior category manager at NHS Supply Chain, said; “By working collaboratively with the trust and the supplier, we have identified and evidenced how a change in practice and usage of products can improve patient care and achieve substantial savings for the NHS.
“The results from the pilot saw a significant reduction in incidence of CAUTIs and the associated recognised complications.
“Furthermore, consistency in care delivery improved and treatment time reduced, supporting pressures in healthcare delivery.”
To understand how a reduction in CAUTI rates will impact individual trusts, a benefits calculator has now been developed, which includes information on infection rate reduction, consumables savings, and length of stay reductions.