For patients in a wheelchair or with limited mobility who have trouble making it to the bathroom, self-catheterization is the most discreet way to quickly and effectively pass, collect, and easily dispose of urine. However, although self-catheterization is convenient, there is a chance the patient can develop a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Here are a few simple tips to help prevent catheter-related urinary tract infections.
Learn How to Properly Self-Catheterize
Your physician will provide a detailed explanation of how to properly insert and care for the catheter and the other components. Ask any many questions during the initial consultation until you feel comfortable with the process. Your doctor may recommend tips and tricks depending on whether you are a male or female.
Discuss how often you should self-catheterize and empty the bag with your physician as well. For example, your doctor may recommend changing the catheter every four to five hours, right after you wake up, and right before going to bed.
Wash Your Hands Often Throughout the Process
Clean your hands thoroughly before and after you insert the catheter, even if you wear gloves. Clean the area where the catheter is inserted as well. If you accidentally drop any of the components, they should be thrown away and you should rewash your hands. Never reuse components or handle and use dirty components.
Protect the Tubing, Bag, and Other Catheter Components from Germs
After the catheter is inserted, monitor the tubing and bag throughout the day. Never allow the bag or tubing to touch the ground, as this can spread germs to the catheter-insertion site. If you are in a wheelchair, a specialized catheter bag allows you to discretely protect the collection bag. Remove the catheter and replace the bag and tubing if there is a kink or the components touch the ground, wall, or become soiled in any way.
Recognize the Early Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts it is still possible to contract a UTI. Here are a few of the early warning signs you are suffering from a catheter-related urinary tract infection:
- More frequent urination
- Burning and pain during urination
- Strong smelling urine
- Chills or fever
- Discomfort in the back or stomach
Contact your physician right away, if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection. An untreated UTI can lead to several serious complications, especially for patients who self-catheterize. For more information about avoiding catheter-related UTIs, contact services such as Catheter Caddy LLC.