Avondale College of Higher Education academic Associate Professor Brett Mitchell’s externally-funded study of antiseptic cleaning solutions may help prevent catheter-associated infections in hospitals

Avondale helps hospitals reduce infections

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Academic’s first-of-its-kind research contributes to prevention project

Research by an Avondale academic has demonstrated the importance of a new project to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections in New South Wales hospitals.

Associate Professor Brett Mitchell spoke about his first-of-its-kind study at the launch of the Clinical Excellence Commission’s CAUTI Improvement Project in Sydney on February 18. The study, conducted in eight New South Wales hospitals over four years, found nearly two in every 100 patients acquire a urinary tract infection and that these infections cost an extra 380,000 public hospital bed days in Australia each year.

“Other studies have shown between six and eight per cent of patients who go to hospital get an infection,” says Mitchell, Director of the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale College of Higher Education. “Ours showed that one of the most common is urinary tract infection. That’s why the CAUTI project is so important.”

The launch of the CAUTI Improvement Project comes at the end of a two-year pilot phase. Eighteen New South Wales hospitals tested the project’s resources and tools—which include online training in catheter insertion, information for patents on catheter maintenance and care and a series of posters promoting criteria-led catheter removal—during the phase.

At one of the sites, St George Hospital in Sydney, Dr Peter Taylor from South Eastern Area Laboratory Services Microbiology led a team focused on improving how and when staff took urine specimens from patients with a catheter. The result: “Better treatment for our patients and a substantial reduction in demand on our pathology department.”

One hundred 100 healthcare representatives, including quality improvement advisors and clinical staff from high catheter use units, attended the launch of the project.

The Clinical Excellence Commission, an entity of NSW Health, is responsible for leading safety and quality improvement in the New South Wales public health system.

UTIs costing 380,000 bed days

Urinary tract infections from inadequate healthcare practices are costing an extra 380,000 public hospital bed days in Australia each year, a world-first study demonstrates.


Sara Bolst

Sara edited alumni magazine Reflections and served as Assistant Public Relations Officer during her tenure at Avondale College of Higher Education.