HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CATHETER (FEMALE)

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1 HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CATHETER (FEMALE) Information Leaflet Your Health. Our Priority.

2 Page 2 of 6 What is a catheter? A catheter is a narrow flexible soft tube inserted into the bladder for the purpose of draining urine into a drainage bag. The catheter is held in the bladder by a small balloon which is filled with a small amount of sterile water. The bag is held in position on the leg or on the tummy. (Picture reference: The Infection Prevention Society, Catheter Care: A Guide for Users of Indwelling Catheters and Their Carers) Why do I need a catheter? A catheter may be needed for several reasons. If you have an operation or a serious illness you may need a catheter for a short time. A catheter can also be used if you are unable to pass urine or if you are unable to control your flow of urine. How do I keep the area around the catheter clean? The catheter enters your body in-between your legs. Each day you should wash around the area where the catheter enters your body with mild or un-perfumed soap and water. It is important to wash your private parts from front to back to reduce the risk of infection. You can have a bath or shower as long as the drainage bag is attached to your catheter. Do not apply any creams or talcum powder near where the catheter enters your body Before and after touching the catheter or emptying or changing the catheter drainage bag you must wash your hands with soap and water. Rinse your hands thoroughly before they are dried with a clean towel to reduce the risk of infection It is important to prevent constipation as the catheter may become blocked and not drain. To prevent constipation and reduce the risk of infection you should drink at least three pints of water daily unless the doctor or nurse has advised against this because of a medical condition You can help to avoid constipation by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables each day and by eating foods such as brown bread and wholegrain cereals (for example weetabix or bran flakes)

3 Page 3 of 6 How do I care for my catheter equipment? There are two types of catheter drainage bags a leg bag and a night bag. A leg bag is worn in the day and is held in position by straps or a special holder. Leg bags are available with either a long tube or short tube so that they can be worn discreetly under a skirt or trousers. A leg bag should be changed every seven days At night time a larger bag is connected to the day bag in order that your sleep is not disturbed by having to empty the smaller leg bag. Your nurse will show you how to connect the bags together. A fresh night bag should be used every night to reduce the risk of infection There is a bag called a belly bag which is worn on the tummy which some people prefer. You should ask your district nurse or specialist continence nurse about this type of bag. All day bags should be emptied when they are half full to prevent the weight of the bag pulling on your catheter. Your nurse will show you how to empty the bag as there are different types available and each has a different mechanism (tap) for emptying. Always wash your hands before and after emptying the bag You should avoid touching the tap when emptying the bag and make sure that you wipe the tap with a clean tissue or cleansing wipe after emptying. Sometimes it is possible to have a valve instead of a leg bag. You should ask your district nurse or specialist continence nurse if you think you might prefer a valve to a bag. Catheters must be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. They should be kept in the original packaging and stored flat. How often is my catheter changed? Catheters have different life spans, some need changing every 4 weeks, others need changing every 12 weeks. Your nurse will tell you when the catheter needs changing. Always keep a spare catheter at home. Your doctor or nurse prescriber will provide all the catheter equipment you require on prescription. How do I dispose of the catheter equipment? Always empty the urine out of the catheter bags and flush the urine down the toilet. Used catheters and catheter bags should be put in a bag which is securely fastened and placed in your normal household waste bin.

4 Page 4 of 6 Will the catheter affect my daily living? Having a catheter should not affect your daily activities and leisure. The catheter will enhance the quality of your life and maintain dignity. You may be worried about a catheter affecting your sex life. If this is the case you should contact your local specialist continence nurses. What if I experience problems with the catheter? Occasionally some people experience problems with catheterisation. Common problems include: Leakage around the catheter known as bypassing. This can be caused by bladder spasm Bladder spasm - this is an abdominal cramp. This happens when the bladder reacts to the catheter as though it is an irritant and tries to force the catheter out. If this is uncomfortable your G.P. may be able to prescribe a tablet to help with this Blood or debris in the bag this is common and is only of concern if large clots of blood or debris are present Your doctor or nurse prescriber will provide all the catheter equipment you require on prescription. What happens when I travel? If you are planning to go abroad and especially if you are flying, you obtain a letter from your G.P. or district nurse stating the purpose of your catheter equipment. Are there any other sources of help? Further help and advice can be obtained by contacting: The Bladder and Bowel Foundation Nurse Helpline General Enquiries Adult Continence Service Union Street Clinic Union Street Hyde SK14 1NX Tel: am 5.00pm Mon - Fri Fax:

5 Page 5 of 6 Useful information to keep Name of District Nurse or Specialist Continence Nurse Telephone Number Catheter Manufacturer/ prescription code Catheter size Leg bag manufacturer/ prescription code Leg bag size Night drainage bag manufacturer/prescription code Night drainage bag capacity Other accessories References Department of Health (2006) Essential steps to safe, clean care: reducing health-associated infections. London: DH Royal College of nursing (2008) Catheter Care: RCN guidance for nurses. London: RCN Contact us If you would like to make any suggestions or complaints please contact our Patient & Customer Services: Tel: Fax: Website:

6 Page 6 of 6 If you would like this leaflet in a different format, for example, in large print, or on audiotape, or for people with learning disabilities, please contact: Patient and Customer Services, Poplar Suite, Stepping Hill Hospital. Tel: Our smoke free policy Smoking is not allowed anywhere on our sites. Please read our leaflet 'Policy on Smoke Free NHS Premises' to find out more. Leaflet number TG67 Publication date July 2015 Review date July 2016 Department District Nursing Services Location Stockport & Tameside and Glossop Community

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