The process of adjusting to life with intermittent catheter use can be a major lifestyle adjustment for any patient, as well as their loved ones and caretakers. It can be a time-consuming, uncomfortable process, particularly at first, even in a patient’s home, with all supplies at hand and a feeling of sterility. However, the reality is, many patients who utilize catheters must frequently be out and about, living their normal lives, regardless of their medical conditions. Because of this fact, the process of catheterizing in a public restroom is a very important one to master. Though it can be a source of anxiety for patients, with proper preparation and education, catheterizing in public restrooms can be only marginally more difficult than doing so in the comfort of your own home.
There are two main issues that are the primary barriers to catheterizing in a public restroom. The first is having all the necessary supplies on hand in order to do so properly. Catheters, particularly male catheters, can consume a good deal of space. Many are too long to easily fit in a pocket or even a normal sized purse. Coupled with any sterilization and lubrication supplies, and it can be cumbersome to carry all the necessary supplies to properly catheterize in a public restroom. This can lead to patients skipping catheterization and trying to hold out until they get home, which can lead to bladder damage and other serious complications. Patients should always catheterize at the same frequency as their physician recommends. Many men find that carrying catheters and supplies in a briefcase can be helpful, as well as providing a hard surface on which to place the supplies during catheterization. For women, folding catheters into a U-shape can help them accommodate varying sizes of purses. Additionally, there are compact catheters available and intended for discretion and space, depending on your insurance and medical qualifications, such as the Coloplast Speedicath.
The other main obstacle to properly catheterizing in a public restroom is the aspect of sterility and hygiene. Complications such as urinary tract infections (UTI’s) can be one risk of catheterization, as the process can introduce bacteria directly into the body if not done properly and safely. Obviously public restrooms are much less hygienic than the restroom in your home. The first and most obvious line of defense in avoiding health complications due to catheterizing in a public restroom is frequent, thorough handwashing. After washing hands, patients should make their way to a stall or private area in order to actually catheterize. Pushing and pulling with your elbow or foot can help preserve the sanitation of your hands. Patients should utilize a drape, paper towel, or some other more sanitary surface to place their supplies on. Many catheter systems can include these supplies or convenient alternatives. For example, Hollister catheters have an adhesive dot on the side of the catheter, enabling patients to stick the outer packaging of the catheter to any surface, while preserving the sanitation of the catheter itself. Gloves, if available, can be a great second line of defense for patients catheterizing in public restrooms. If a patient’s catheter includes a grip or guide strip, this should be utilized, so as not to touch the catheter tube itself which can lead to contamination.
If patients prepare properly and take a heightened degree of caution, catheterizing in public restrooms does not need to be a source of anxiety. With advances in medical technology and a trusted supplier on your side, you can utilize a catheterization program without sacrificing any quality of life. With an experienced supplier like Aeroflow Healthcare on your side, you never have to worry about dealing with insurance, learning about supplies, or picking up your supplies in a store. Our trained catheter representatives can help you obtain both the perfect catheter and supplies for your specific medical needs. If you or someone you know is using catheters, do not delay, contact Aeroflow Healthcare today.