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Study: Best practices in urinary cath care
About 4 million Americans undergo urinary catheterization annually, and more than 500,000 of these catheterizations involve indwelling catheters left in place for some period. Between 15% and 25% of patients may receive indwelling catheters during hospitalization, and the prevalence of catheter use in residents of long-term care facilities is estimated between 7.5% and 10%. Although the indications for catheterization have been extensively outlined, reports of the inappropriate use of catheters range from 21% to more than 50%.
In an article published in Home Healthcare Nurse, researchers present a compilation of best practices for urinary catheter care. This article discusses methods of urinary catheterization and their indications, catheter-associated complications, and assessment and management strategies that home health care practitioners can employ to ensure best patient outcomes and to minimize complications.
Although catheterization is a common health care practice, it presents many risks that must be taken seriously. The complications associated with catheterization include:
trauma or introduction of bacteria into the urinary system, resulting in infection and, consequently, possible septicemia or death;
trauma to the urethra or bladder from incorrect insertion or attempts to remove the catheter without deflating the balloon;
accidental catheter dislodgement;
urine bypassing the bladder;
blockage of the catheter;
chronic renal inflammation;
profound effects on a patient's social, work, and psychological well-being.
Because complications can be serious if catheters are not used appropriately, the authors recommend that catheterization be undertaken when all other methods of urinary system management have been deemed inappropriate or have failed.
1. Herter R, Kazer MW. Best practices in urinary catheter care. Home Healthc Nurse 2010; Jun: 28:342-9.