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Title: Why do clinicians place indwelling urinary catheters with patients in acute medical care?
Author: Murphy, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 287X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: Indwelling urinary catheters (IUCs) placed for short-term use in hospital frequently become long-term catheters, increasing the potential for infections, trauma and other complications. Current research has focused on the prompt removal of IUCs in place, with no published review of interventions to reduce the initial placement. Furthermore, little is known about why clinicians place IUCs in acute medical care. Without this knowledge, the effectiveness of strategies aimed at reducing IUC use is likely to be sub-optimal. Aim: To understand why clinicians decide to place IUCs in acute medical care. Methods: (1) A systematic review of interventions to minimise the initial placement of urinary catheters in acute care. (2) A qualitative study in the A&E department and acute medical wards of a 1200+ bed hospital. Clinicians who made the decision to place an IUC were asked to participate in a retrospective think aloud interview describing how they came to the decision, later participating in a semi-structured interview to discuss their wider experiences of making the decision to place an IUC. A purposive sample and thematic analysis were used. Results: (1) Eight (six uncontrolled) studies met the inclusion criteria for the systematic review, using a variety of interventions including clinician education and introduction of guidelines to reduce IUC use. Although seven demonstrated a reduction in the initial use of IUCs post-intervention (relative risk 0.19 – 0.86), the impact of individual interventions was unclear. Notably, each study provided a list of reasons considered to provide justifications for IUC use, with substantial variation between the lists. (2) 30 retrospective think aloud interviews and 20 semi-structured interviews were undertaken. Clinicians were influenced by cues taken from three groups; individual beliefs (e.g. on the clinical indication or IUC-associated risks), patient factors (e.g. age or gender) and organisational factors (e.g. resources or policy). Many spectrums of belief were found (e.g. varying opinions on using IUCs to protect skin from urinary incontinence). Conclusions: This work establishes that understanding of interventions to reduce the initial placement of IUCs is poor and there is a lack of agreement on when the benefits of IUC use outweigh the risks. Clinical reasoning in this area is frequently inconsistent and IUC placement decisions vary widely, indicating that there is considerable scope for a reduction in use.
Supervisor: Fader, Miranda ; Prieto, Jacqueline Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RT Nursing