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One fourth of older patients receive catheters for no reason

ters are being placed. "Other studies have found that most doctors don't know whether their patient has a catheter in place or not," Landefeld notes. "It's something that happens frequently for reasons that have not been fully teased out."

When the reasons are eventually determined, he says, the next step would be think about ways to decrease unnecessary catheter use. "It's like hand washing in hospitals, which has become much more common recently thanks to interventions that encourage hospital staff to modify their behavior," he says. "We need very obvious approaches that will get people to think three times before placing the catheter and once it's in, to think how quickly they can get it out."

Landefeld says that he and his fellow researchers have completed a follow up study on what happens to patients who have been catheterized unnecessarily: "Are they more likely to decline and be unable to care for themselves? Are they more likely to die, or go to a nursing home?" That study is currently under peer review.


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Contact: Steve Tokar
steve.tokar@ncire.org
415-221-4810 x520
University of California - San Francisco
22-May-2006


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