A Paradigm for PICC Placement
Italy is not the largest health care market in Europe—Germany, France and the United Kingdom have greater populations—but it is the leading market in Europe for Peripherally-Inserted Central Catheters (PICCs). In fact, Italy’s healthcare providers place more PICCs than all but a handful of countries in the world.
To understand why PICCs are so popular for patients with longer-term needs in Italian hospitals, it is important to recognize the value they represent compared to traditional intravenous therapy—a critical consideration in a country that has a sophisticated national healthcare system but is faced with a challenging economic climate.
“For 15 days of traditional intravenous (IV) therapy, we estimate that the average number of needle sticks in one patient would be around 20, including IV cannula placement and taking blood samples,” says Fabio Conti, nursing coordinator at Fondazione Policlinico Tor Vergata (PTV), a university medical center in Rome. “Placing a PICC in the same patient covers the same therapeutic needs with a single device and a single insertion.” With fewer skin punctures, there are fewer opportunities for insertion complications.1
In many global markets, PICCs must be placed by physicians. At PTV, nurses have been trained to place PICCs since 2003, and a full-time PICC team staffed by nurses was established in 2008. Operative Units are empowered to reach out directly to the hospital’s PICC team, which conducts an evaluation of the patient’s peripheral veins to determine whether a PICC is indicated. The nurse then proceeds directly to the insertion, guided by Bard’s SITE-RITE® Ultrasound System.
In recent years, the PICC program at PTV has become a model for other hospitals in the Lazio region of Italy. “Last year, we partnered with Bard to train 10 other local hospitals who were starting up a PICC program,” says Conti. “Bard is one of the main partnerships for our hospital and for our university.”