It is really very important to try less invasive options before considering catheterisation and, if used, urethral catheters should be removed as soon as they are no longer necessary, given the virulence an intractability of CAUTI’s (Catheter associated UTIs) and the resultant cost in money and health.
However, should catheterisation be unavoidable, it is essential to take care of your catheter to prevent the associated risks of urinary tract infection and the more serious risks of kidney infection and septicaemia. The risk of developing a catheter-related UTI rises by five per cent for each day the catheter remains in place (Tambyah et al, 2002).
Research has shown silver alloy/hydrogel coated catheters lessen the chance of infection as they inhibit the formation of biofilms and reduce the adherence of Staphylococci, Enterococci and yeasts. Results indicated a reduction of 60 per cent (Roadhouse and Wellsted 2004). The use of a urinary catheter such as a Foley Catheter should be monitored regularly; for example, daily or weekly with an aim to removing the catheter as soon as possible.
Foley catheters are held in place by a balloon that is inflated to a capacity of 10ml. Frederic Eugene Basil Foley (1891-1966) was an American urologist who invented the self-retaining balloon catheter in the 1930s.
The drainage bag should be stored lower than bladder level. Many people strap this to their leg during the day using a leg strap, bag or leg sleeve. A larger capacity bag is used overnight which is placed on a stand by the bed (but not touching the floor). It is important to make sure the bag is supported and will not pull on the catheter in any way. The drainage bag should be emptied every 4-8 hours or when the bag is half full, whichever comes first. On draining, ensure that the end of the catheter never touches the container that it is being drained into. It is necessary to maintain a closed drainage system to prevent infection.
Changing the Catheter
How often the catheter needs to be changed is based on manufacturer’s instructions. A standard catheter is generally changed between 2 and 12 (maximum) weeks. A silver alloy coated catheter may need to be changed more regularly (monthly).
If you stay symptom free for a period of time when you would have expected an infection, it is usually safe to reduce the dose frequency or level, and perhaps just take more around the time of changing the catheter.
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