A strap that can stop infections

A strap that can stop infections

Nursing professor invents equipment to benefit patient safety

By Anna Suggs

Bonnie Carlin/Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Bonnie J. Carlin, M.S.N., an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing, has a patent pending for inventing a low-cost urinary catheter strap to improve patient safety during wheelchair transport. The UF Research Foundation is negotiating a license with a Florida-based start-up company to commercialize her invention.

Carlin invented the strap to help minimize or eliminate patient discomfort, increase safety during wheelchair transport and decrease the risk for hospital-acquired urinary tract infections. Hospital-acquired urinary tract infection accounts for about 40 percent of institutionally acquired infections and is the most frequent health care-associated infection in the United States.

Significant causes of catheter-associated urinary tract infection include the lack of proper drainage, which leads to urine backflow, and excessive manipulation of the catheter, all which can happen during patient transport. The simple-to-use urinary catheter strap is one strategy to reduce the risk of infection because it minimizes urine backflow into the bladder and helps support the collection tubing above the level of the drainage bag.

The adjustable strap fastens to the center of the wheelchair’s back seat and extends to the front, where it hangs approximately two-to-eight inches from the floor. The drainage bag attaches to the end of the support strap and is properly supported along with the catheter tubing below the bladder during transport. Carlin’s support strap also prevents the tubing from entangling in the wheels or frame of a wheelchair and ensures tubing doesn’t become disconnected from the drainage bag during transport or movement.

“Commercializing this invention is another way that I can influence care delivery on a larger scale. My next step is to work with the start-up company to get the product available to hospitals and other health care settings,” Carlin said.