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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995 Aug;43(8):865-70.

Clean intermittent catheterization: safe, cost-effective bladder management for male residents of VA nursing homes.

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Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, USA.



To compare the safety and cost of clean versus sterile intermittent bladder catheterization in male nursing home residents. To provide evidence to support the hypothesis that intermittent catheterization is a valid, alternative method of bladder management in male residents of long-term care in whom urinary retention is a documented problem.


Randomized clinical trial.


Three long-term care sites having predominantly male populations.


Eighty male veterans, residents of three long-term care facilities, ranging in age from 36 to 96 years with a mean age of 72.


Standardized procedures for clean and sterile intermittent catheterization (IC) were implemented by staff nurses at each site. Patients were randomized into clean and sterile IC groups. Nursing time and catheterization equipment usage were recorded using bar code readers. Clinical data were collected from the medical chart. Treatment of urinary tract infection was prescribed by the medical personnel responsible for each individual resident.


We compared the number of treatment episodes for symptomatic bacteriuria between groups randomized to receive either clean or sterile intermittent catheterization. Laboratory analysis of blood and urine was done on predetermined days. Control variables were research site and patient history of urinary tract infection within the last 6 months. A cost comparison of nursing time and equipment usage for the two catheterization techniques was also performed.


No significant differences were found between clean and sterile groups with regard to number of treatment episodes, time to first infection, type of organism cultured, or cost of antibiotic treatment. The cost of sterile technique was considerably higher both in terms of nursing time and supplies.


Findings from this study demonstrate that clean technique intermittent catheterization is a safe and cost-effective bladder management technique with male, nursing home residents, despite the frailty of this high risk population. An annual savings of approximately $1460 per patient in nursing time and catheterization supplies could be anticipated if a patient were catheterized an average of four times per day substituting clean IC technique for sterile IC technique.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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