Patient passport will cut catheter-related urinary infections

A London NHS trust has introduced a system issuing every patient who leaves hospital with a catheter with a document containing information about their condition and treatment

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust has launched a ‘patient passport’ aimed at reducing urinary infections and joining up patients’ care in hospital and community settings.

Patients who leave hospital with a catheter receive a document containing all relevant information about their condition. This means that regardless of where the patient is seen, healthcare professionals will have access to all their treatment history.

The passport also offers practical advice to patients about how to look after their catheter and what to do if it is not working properly.

Dianne James, a senior infection prevention control nurse at the trust, said: ‘Some patients may have a catheter for only a few days, while others may need one for several months or even permanently. The reliance on catheters can often cause painful urinary infections, because the tube of the catheter exposes the urinary tract to the external environment.

‘This new passport will detail why the patient required it and when it is due for review. The passport will travel with the patient, so healthcare professionals, in both hospital and community, can see when the catheter is due to be changed and if the patient’s condition has improved, meaning that they no longer require one. Acting on this information will ultimately help to reduce the number of urinary infections and prolonged catheter use.’

Figures from the Health Protection Agency show that 17.2% of all healthcare associated infections are caused by catheters. 

The trust was created in October last year when Ealing Hospital NHS Trust merged with the North West London Hospitals NHS Trust. The merger removed barriers between hospital and community services, and means clinical teams hold greater clinical knowledge between them and have more specialists and expertise in more fields. 

Since the merger the infection control team is able to work collaboratively across the organisation's new network of hospital and community services.

Chief nurse Carole Flowers said: ‘The new urinary catheter passport is a great example of how our recent merger can improve patient care across Brent, Ealing and Harrow. This collaborative approach across both our hospital and community services will enable staff to work together and provide all health workers with a complete view of a patient’s care, both at home and in hospital.’


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