There is a lot more that goes into choosing a urinary catheter than many realize. While size is the most considered feature, there are many more aspects and benefits that you should be aware of when choosing a catheter. Overall, intermittent catheters are for urinary retention, while indwelling catheters and external catheters are used for urinary incontinence.
As stated, catheter size is the most important feature of the catheter. If the incorrect size is used it can cause irritation, urine leakage, bacteria buildup, damage, and discomfort. Catheters come in sizes, types and lengths, and diameters. The most common size for a male is 14fr. (French), most common for females is 12fr. (French).
Catheters are either intermittent or indwelling. The lubrication helps to guide the catheter more easily through the urinary tract and into the bladder. Pre-lubricated catheters are more hygienic in that you do not have to touch the tip to lubricate it, hence eliminating sources of bacteria. There are two types of pre-lubricated catheters: hydrophilic catheters, which become slippery and smooth when they come in contact with water, and silicone coated catheterwhich is covered in an oil that is medically inert and allows for smooth, easy catheter insertion with no mess. HPFY has a variety of pre-lubricated catheters to choose from in both hydrophilic and coated styles. There are also non-lubricated catheters to choose from that can be lubricated by the client for insertion.
Coude tip or straight tip catheter is a matter of choice. A coude tip is curved to make it easier to insert it into a urethra that has bumps. The coude tip will glide more easily over the bumps.
Design elements are important, especially for those that have dexterity issues. Many people who use catheters have issues like MS or spinal cord injuries and even the packaging can be overwhelming. Try to choose easy-to-open packages and ones that are easy to hold on to while opening. Also, make sure the catheters chosen for these clients are easy to insert without assistance.
Price of the catheter is another important factor when choosing a catheter. Most clients who use these products use them long-term so the cost can become a factor. Try to choose a product that fits both your needs and your pocketbook. Remember, catheters are a single-use item and cannot be reused.
Infection control is one of the main issues with catheterization. Always use gloves and sterile methods for insertion. Always have enough product on hand to change frequently to eliminate sources of bacteria. Choose the correct size for safety, hygiene, and comfort. HPFY has many catheters to choose from. Please visit our website and view our vast selection to find what will best suit you or your patients' needs.
Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist
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