Adjusting to the use of catheters for urinary incontinence can be difficult for patients with conditions that require the use of such medical equipment. However, the benefits of such implements far outweigh the negatives, as diligence and proper application and care of your catheters can lead to a dramatic increase in quality of life.
Sanitizing A Catheter
One of the primary challenges of catheter use is practicing proper sanitation to minimize the risks of infection, rashes and other uncomfortable or dangerous complications. The first line of defense in catheter sanitation is changing your catheter with appropriate frequency. Medicare allows for up to 200 indwelling catheters per month, allowing patients the freedom to replace their catheter at least 6 times a day, while still allowing some extra catheters should the need arise. By frequently changing out the catheter, patients can be ensured that they are utilizing a clean and completely sterile piece of equipment each time they catheterize. Changing out new catheters as often as practically possible is also one of the primary ways to decrease the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTI’s), the most common adverse side effect of catheterization and conditions which require catheters.
Keeping Skin Clean When Catheterizing
One of the primary sources of complications arising from catheter use is not from the catheter itself but from improper cleaning of the skin and body in the area around the catheter. Since replacing catheters can introduce dirt and bacteria into your body, it is very important to thoroughly sterilize the area around the catheter at every possible opportunity. Frequent hand washing with mild soap and warm water is the first line of defense. By keeping hands clean, the sterility of new catheters can be preserved before they are inserted, keeping bacteria and foreign matter out of the body. It is also important to always clean away from your body toward the catheter, not toward your body, as this can direct bacteria and dirt toward sensitive and exposed parts of the body.
When opening new catheters, preserve their sterility by keeping them contained in their sterile wrapping until application, and be careful not to place new sterile catheters on any contaminated surface. Aeroflow Healthcare recommends that patients utilize hydrophilic catheters if possible. This particular variation of a catheter is sterilized and coated with sterile saline, as opposed to the sterile water used in standard indwelling catheters. This can provide a greater degree of overall sanitation, but more importantly, a much higher level of patient comfort when inserting the catheter. Since saline mimics the natural membranes and lubricants our body naturally produces more closely than water, patients experience less difficulty with catheterization, which is particularly important if patients are utilizing new catheters up to 6 times a day.
By practicing good hygiene and sanitation habits, patients will be much less likely to experience any complications arising from catheter use. If you are experiencing any adverse health conditions which require the use of indwelling or external catheters, contact Aeroflow Healthcare today to see how your quality of life can be measurably improved.