What’s New in the Patient Safety World

July 2016

Holy Moly, My Patient has a FOLEY!



In our many columns on avoiding unnecessary use of Foley catheters we’ve often noted that posters or screensavers are helpful tools in achieving reduction of Foley catheter use. At the recent American Geriatrics Society (AGS) 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting one of the poster presentations highlighted a program on a Canadian acute geriatrics unit that successfully reduced urinary catheter use by almost half (Sinha 2016). One of the keys to success was use of a poster that had the headline “Holy Moly, My Patient has a Foley!”. Way back in our May 8, 2007 Patient Safety Tip of the Week “Doctor, when do I get this red rubber hose removed?” (and our many other columns on avoiding CAUTI’s) we’ve talked about how often physicians are surprised to find that their patient had a Foley catheter in place.


Variations of that phrase have been used elsewhere, such as “Holy Moley, Take Out That Foley!” (Ghanem 2015) or “Holey Moley, What About That Foley?” (Steinmann 2012). But what was unique in the Canadian program was that they apparently placed the posters in bathroom stalls “where all staff had ample time to review indications for catheters, associated risks, and ways they could take action to remove them”. What a great concept! We’ve seen that with posters elsewhere or computer screensavers staff tend to block them out after they’ve seen a few. But we like the idea of using the bathroom stall where you have a “captive audience”!


It’s creative programs like this that every healthcare organization can learn from. There are many evidence-based interventions and best practices that we try to disseminate in our organizations. But dissemination of some are more successful than others. It’s often in the way you communicate. And use of a catchy phrase and an even catchier place to put it might really help spread the message. Kudos to Sinha and colleagues for this program!


We’d, of course, be remiss if we failed to mention the results of a recently published, AHRQ-sponsored national project to reduce unnecessary urinary catheter use and CAUTI’s (Saint 2016). Led by Sanjay Saint, whose work on CAUTI reduction we’ve noted in many of our prior columns on CAUTI prevention such as the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center’s Bladder Bundle Initiative, the national Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program included dissemination of information to sponsor organizations and hospitals, data collection, and guidance on key technical and socioadaptive factors in the prevention of catheter-associated UTI. Principles from CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program) programs were utilized in understanding some of those socioadaptive factors (we discussed CUSP principles in our March 2011 What's New in the Patient Safety World column “Michigan ICU Collaborative Wins Big”).


Data were obtained between March 2011 and November 2013 from over 900 units before and after implementation and again at 12 months to assess sustainability. Adjusted CAUTI rates overall fell 14%. For non-ICU units CAUTI rates fell 32%. Catheter use decreased 7% in non-ICU units. Results of both were sustainable over the 12 months of data collection.


Interestingly, neither catheter use nor CAUTI rates fell in ICU’s. The reason for the lack of improvement in ICU’s is not clear, though the authors speculate the need for monitoring urinary output may justify more use of urinary catheters in the ICU setting and several other factors in ICU patients may lead to higher CAUTI rates.


Our December 2015 What's New in the Patient Safety World column “CAUTI Prevention Tools” discussed AHRQ’s “Toolkit for Reducing CAUTI in Hospitals” (AHRQ 2015). The toolkit was developed as part of a multi-hospital project in which CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program) principles were used along with evidence-based CAUTI prevention measures. The toolkit includes multiple tools, including:


It also has links to a host of prior AHRQ webinars on preventing CAUTI’s and using CUSP principles. It also has multiple resources for sustaining change and improvement.




Our other columns on urinary catheter-associated UTI’s:








Sinha S, et al. American Geriatrics Society (AGS) 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting: Abstract P2. Presented May 19, 2016

As presented by Harrison L. Geriatrics Unit Reduces Catheter Use, Reports Fewer Deaths. Medscape Medical News 2016; May 25, 2016




Ghanem A, Artime C, Moser M, et al. Holy Moley! Take out that Foley! Measuring Compliance with a Nurse Driven Protocol for Foley Catheter Removal to Decrease Utilization. Amer J Infect Control 2015; 43(6): Supplement, Page S51




Steinmann K. Holey Moley! What About That Foley?! PowerPoint presentation. Hennepin County Medical Center. September 7, 2012




Saint S, Greene MT, Krein SL, et al. A Program to Prevent Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection in Acute Care. N Engl J Med 2016; 374: 2111-2119




AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). Toolkit for Reducing CAUTI in Hospitals. 2015








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