The simple measure that could save QLD hospitals $15 million a year

7 May 2021

Professor Claire Rickard from UQ’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work spoke to Brisbane Times about a new UQ-led study that could save significant time, money and resources in Australian hospital wards.

Simply extending the amount of time common medical equipment is used in hospitals could save the health system $15 million a year, as well as potentially improve outcomes for patients.

A comprehensive Australia-wide study, led by UQ nursing researchers, looked specifically at infusion equipment: intravenous lines and related paraphernalia common and essential in hospitals around the world.

Under current best-practise guidelines, the equipment – including plastic tubing, infusion bags and related medication – must be replaced every four days.

Study author Professor Claire Rickard said their research found extending that time to seven days had no impact on patient safety while greatly reducing wastage in hospitals.

“The theory goes that over time bacteria will get into those infusions systems and you can save the patient getting an infection if you replace everything regularly,” Professor Rickard said.

“But the problem is that while you’re handling all this equipment to put it in the patient, that’s a risk of contamination in itself.”

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