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Although urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection, there is little information about why hospitals use or do not use a range of available preventive practices. We thus conducted a multicenter study to understand better how US hospitals approach the prevention of hospital-acquired UTI.
This research is part of a larger study employing both quantitative and qualitative methods. The qualitative phase consisted of 38 semistructured phone interviews with key personnel at 14 purposefully sampled US hospitals and 39 in-person interviews at 5 of those 14 hospitals, to identify recurrent and unifying themes that characterize how hospitals have addressed hospital-acquired UTI.
Four recurrent themes emerged from our study data. First, although preventing hospital-acquired UTI was a low priority for most hospitals, there was substantial recognition of the value of early removal of a urinary catheter for patients. Second, those hospitals that made UTI prevention a high priority also focused on noninfectious complications and had committed advocates, or “champions,” who facilitated prevention activities. Third, hospital-specific pilot studies were important in deciding whether or not to use devices such as antimicrobial-impregnated catheters. Finally, external forces, such as public reporting, influenced UTI surveillance and infection prevention activities.
Clinicians and policy makers can use our findings to develop initiatives that, for example, use a champion to promote the removal of unnecessary urinary catheters or exploit external forces, such public reporting, to enhance patient safety.
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