Imaging ran into a problem when they were transporting patients to exams, and here’s what the challenge was: Gravity.
Patients who had urinary bags either had to hold the bags as they were being pushed in their wheelchairs, or the bags would hang near the wheels or on an IV pole, and usually that meant the bags were above the level of the patient’s bladder. The problem: Urine would flow the wrong way — and the number of urinary tract infections would increase.
“The problem was, when we were transporting patients, there was nowhere to hang the bag so it was always below the bladder,” says Denise Rodgers, the UCR’s Director of Imaging. “So as part of the region’s team that’s working to prevent urinary tract infections, some of our team in Imaging got together and said: How can we address this problem?”
Then Jeannine Bird had a brainstorm: Why not put an eyelet in the seat of the wheelchair and hang the bag from that? “It was just one of those things that hits you,” says Jeannine, who is Diagnostic Imaging Coordinator at Intermountain Medical Center. “It seemed so logical.” She called Kirkham’s, the outdoor store, which does some work for Imaging, and asked if they could put an eyelet in five wheelchair seats so they could do a trial run, and when they got the new seats back, they worked great.
“It was just common sense,” says Jeannine. “It was really simple and really inexpensive to do. It’s one of those things you see all the time where you think, ‘Why don’t they do it this way?’ and when you try it, you find it really works.”
Imaging at Intermountain Medical Center had Engineering retrofit all of their wheelchairs a couple of weeks ago, and the region’s CAUTI team, which is working to reduce catheter-acquired urinary tract infections, is monitoring the results.
“Jeannine and our team in Imaging really deserve our thanks for looking at the problem and coming up with this solution,” says Suzanne Anderson, Intermountain Medical Center’s Nursing Administrator, who chairs the CAUTI team. “It’s a terrific idea — it’s simple, practical, and it hardly costs anything, and we think it will really help us reduce our infection rate.”