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 until patients develop good routines with the proper supplies and equipment. One of the most common complications arising from catheter use are urinary tract infections, or UTI’s. However, with advances in medical technology and proper education, UTI’s with catheter use do not have to be a reality of catheterization, and can be easily preventable in most cases.
By its very nature, the process of catheterization can introduce bacteria directly into the body if not done properly and safely. The first and most obvious line of defense in avoiding health complications due to catheterizing is frequent, thorough handwashing. Most UTI’s with catheters originate with bacteria from patient’s hands which are transferred to the catheter prior to insertion.
Catheters should only be opened once they are ready to be inserted, and should never be placed on any surface which is not sterile. It can be a good idea to actually open the catheter prior to handwashing, as the outer package of the catheter is not sterile if it has been stored in a pocket, bag, or purse. These seemingly common sense measures can, on their own, dramatically work toward preventing UTI’s with catheter use.
While good hygiene practices and routines are the first line of defense against UTI’s, the reality is that it is equally important that a patient choose the right supplies in order to supplement their own behaviors and set them up for easy, sterile catheterization. Particularly in public or workplace restrooms, which are not as easily controlled for sterility as a patient’s home, patients should utilize a drape, paper towel, or some other more sanitary surface to place their supplies on.
Many catheter systems can include these kinds of supplies and insertion aides, or convenient alternatives. For example, many catheters have an adhesive dot on the side of the catheter packaging, 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, and are often included in catheter insertion kits or “closed system” catheters. Additionally, Medicaid plans and some private insurances will cover gloves independently if signed for by a doctor as part of a catheterization regimen. 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.
Many catheter insertion kits will also include benzalkonium chloride wipes for sterilization of hands, and may include povidone iodine swabs to preemptively sterilize the catheterization site. When it comes to catheterization, no degree of sanitation is too high in the cause of preventing UTI’s.
If patients prepare properly and take a heightened degree of caution, catheterizing does not need to be a source of anxiety. UTI’s can be a serious health concern, particularly with patients that may already be dealing with other serious and concurrent medical issues which may compromise their immune system and resilience. Advances in medical technology can enable you to 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, all at little-to-no cost through insurance.
If you or someone you know is using catheters, or if they are experiencing complications such as UTI’s, this does not have to be an unfortunate side-effect of their course of treatment. Do not delay, contact Aeroflow Healthcare today to help get started on the road to a higher degree of quality of life.