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Tom Sharon
Ask if the bladder catheter is absolutely necessary


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Caring for Bladder Infection

Many people have to have catheters inserted to drain urine from the bladder. The usual rationales for this are to bypass urinary blockage, to satisfy the need for precise measurement of urinary output, and to protect skin integrity from bladder incontinence. The presence of a catheter removes the natural defense against bladder infection because the rubber tube provides an open road for invading microorganisms. Consequently, the longer the catheter remains, the greater the risk of infection.

Each day that you or your loved one has a bladder catheter remaining, you should ask the physician to justify keeping it there and inquire as to what would be the consequences of removing it now. Additionally, if the catheter must remain, the standards of care require that the nurses provide catheter care every eight hours. This involves cleaning the tube with antiseptic solution starting at the urinary opening and wiping away from the body. The nurses then follow the cleaning with application of antibiotic ointment (usually ointment with iodine) at the point of entry. It is best to include this procedure in a checklist that you would go over with the head nurse every day to make sure that the staff members are performing all the required tasks.

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