Barriers and facilitators to optimising inpatient bladder management after spinal cord injury

Louise M. Goodes, Gabrielle K. King, Denise M. Goodwin, Anne Watts, Jen Bardsley, James Middleton, Peter Bragge, Sarah A. Dunlop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Study design: Qualitative survey. Objectives: Examine clinicians’ perspectives on adherence to published evidence-based guidelines and clinician-perceived barriers, and facilitators to optimising inpatient bladder management within one Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) service. Setting: Surgical Hospital (acute care) and SCI Unit (sub-acute, rehabilitation) in Western Australia (WA). Methods: Clinicians reviewed an ‘Evidence Matrix’ summarising published clinical practice guidelines and recommendations for SCI bladder management. Focus groups examined the extent to which current practice adhered to recommendations and identified perceived barriers and facilitators to optimal management. Data were analysed thematically using a deductive approach. Results: Current management closely mirrors published recommendations. Key facilitators included long-standing prioritisation of rapid progression from urethral indwelling (IDC) to a 6 hourly intermittent catheterisation (IC) protocol; regular competency audits of catheterisation technique; and a Spinal Urology Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) position. Barriers included limited resources/staffing; restricted access to Neuro-urology consultation; inter-disciplinary communication gaps; and delays in determining and implementing long-term bladder management. Conclusions: Inpatient SCI bladder care in WA closely emulates published evidence, although adherence at other sites may reveal different practices. Bladder management was found to have been facilitated by a strong culture of practice led by Neuro-urologists, informed by evidence and embraced by Senior Clinicians. Further reduction in duration of initial IDC, provision of early and ongoing Neuro-urology consultations as part of standard care, increased interdisciplinary communication and dedicated SCI Urology theatre lists would further optimise management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1291-1300
Number of pages10
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number12
Early online dateMay 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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