There is a possibility that unnecessary treatments and low-quality medical care, such as inappropriate indwelling urethral catheter use, are being provided to older Japanese individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate contextual effects relating to indwelling urethral catheters in older people with dementia and to clarify the effects of indwelling urethral catheter use on patients' mortality, length of stay (LOS), and health care spending. This retrospective cohort study involved 4501 male and female Japanese participants. Those who were aged 75 or older with dementia and had a primary diagnosis of acute lower respiratory disease with antibiotics administered during hospitalization were eligible for inclusion. Patient mortality, LOS, and total charge during hospitalization were the main study outcomes. This study showed that indwelling urethral catheter use was significantly associated with higher mortality, longer LOS, and higher total charge for hospitalization. The pattern of indwelling urethral catheter use was clustered by care facility level. Physician density was significantly associated with indwelling urethral catheter use; the relationship was not linear but U-shaped, such that the approximate median had the lowest rate of urethral catheter use and this increased gradually toward both lower and higher physician densities. Our study found considerable variation in indwelling urethral catheter use between care facilities in older people with dementia. Additionally, indwelling urethral catheter use was related to poor outcomes. Based on these findings, we consider there to be an urgent need for constructing a framework to measure, report on, and promote the improvement of care quality for older individuals in Japan.
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