Study protocol for reducing urinary catheter use: a randomised controlled study

Prof. Brett Mitchell1,2,4, Dr Oyebola Fasugba3,4, Professor Allen Cheng5,6, Dr Philip  Russo4,7, A/Professor Maria Northcote8  Hannah Rosebrock1

1Faculty of Arts, Nursing and Theology, Avondale College Of Higher Education, Wahroonga, Australia,

2School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, , Australia ,

3Nursing Research Institute, St Vincent’s Health Australia (Sydney) and Australian Catholic University, Watson, Australia,

4Lifestyle Research Centre, Avondale College, Cooranbong, Australia,

5Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia,

6Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,

7School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia,

8Discipline of Education, Avondale College, Cooranbong , Australia


Background: Despite advances in infection prevention and control, catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) remain problematic. The greatest risk factor for CAUTI is prolonged catheterisation. Interventions that prompt removal of unnecessary catheters may therefore enhance patient safety. A reminder intervention is a mechanism used to remind either a physician or nurse that the catheter is still in place and that removal may be warranted. The purpose of this research is to determine the efficacy of an innovative electronic reminder system (CATHTAG) in reducing urinary catheter usage. A second objective is to determine whether the CATHTAG has an effect on the ability to deliver patient care.

Methods: A stepped wedge randomised controlled study will be undertaken in one hospital over a 24-week period. The intervention involves the use of an electronic reminder tag placed on urinary catheters. Wards will be randomly allocated to move from a control to an intervention phase. Data collection will include the number of catheter days in the control and intervention periods, in addition to staff surveys and focus groups.

Results: The primary outcomes for this study will be the urinary catheter device utilisation ratio and the perceptions of nurses about ease of use of the CATHTAG. Secondary outcomes include the number of cases of catheter associated asymptomatic bacteriuria.

Conclusion:  The study aims to commence in early 2018 in an Australian hospital. The paper presents an overview of the study protocol.


Professor Brett Mitchell is a Professor of Nursing and Director of the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale College. He holds a honorary position at Griffith University and is the Editor-in-Chief of Infection, Disease and Health. Brett has over 100 peer reviewed journal and conference presentations. He is the Chair of an NHMRC committee revising the national infection control guidelines.

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