A catheter is a medical device that is inserted into a patient's private area to collect urine as it forms. This allows the patient to bypass getting up to use the restroom. A small bag for the fluid is attached to the patient's leg, and then he or she is free to go through the day without having to use the restroom for urination. Catheter care does not take care of any need the person may have to have a bowel movement, but it can provide relief otherwise.
Who Needs Catheter Care?
There are many reasons why a person may need catheter care. Many patients receive this treatment when they cannot easily get up to go places at a moment's notice. To avoid having an accident, a catheter is put in place so the person can remain immobile. Patients with uncontrolled bladder conditions may also receive catheter care, as well as those who cannot feel the sensations to use the restroom.
Differences in Insertion Techniques
Insertion methods for catheter care will differ by gender. In men, the catheter is placed in the urinary tract within the penis. In women, the catheter is placed in the urethral meatus. It is usually more difficult to administer catheter care to a woman based on the layout of female genetalia, but a good health care aid is usually able to get it done.
Types of Catheters
The most common device used in catheter care is the Foley catheter. This has a balloon at one end that allows it to stay in place when it is in the body. A Robinson catheter is a similar device, but it does not have a balloon at the end. Thus, it cannot stay in place without some source of aid. A condom catheter (otherwise called an external Texas catheter) is not inserted internally, which carries less risk of developing infections. This can only be used for males. Other models are available on a regional or case related basis.
The time a person needs catheter care will vary based on his or her situation. Most catheters are only put in place for a short period of time because there are risks involved with prolonged use. Some patients will keep their catheters in at all times, while others insert theirs long enough to relieve the bladder. Once relief is met, the catheter is removed until the next temporary placement.
The catheters themselves must be replaced on a regular basis for hygienic purposes. During catheter care, the bags must also be emptied and cleaned to hold a new set of urine. The size of the bag and the frequency of urination will determine how often that must be done. Patients are instructed to clean themselves regularly during catheter care to prevent infection, and those who cannot clean themselves must get assistance to do so.
Once a person is done with catheter care, he or she must drink water on a regular basis to flush out the urinary tract. After a few days, the pain from removal and the fluctuating urination schedules usually go away. Infection is a possibility though, so patients are always advised to monitor their body right after catheter usage.