by David Reilly
Great Question! First, you should always consult with your physician to determine if single-use, sterile, intermittent catheterization is right for you. Having said that, it’s commonly understood that re-using a catheter versus disposing of it after each use can lead to higher instances of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) due to poor sterilization, and it can cause unnecessary obstruction due to improper lubrication. So, if you’re a candidate then single-use catheterization is a great option. For more information and consideration, you can speak with a Catheter Specialist by going to www.ionmycatheters.com
In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are in favor and cover a new catheter each time for the following reasons:
Reason #1: Washing and reusing catheters increases the likelihood of bacteria remaining in the catheter to be reinserted into the urinary tract, thereby causing infection. UTI’s are one of the most frequent and significant complications for intermittent catheter users. Symptoms of infection include: burning sensation with urination, having the urge to urinate more frequently, opaque or bloody urine, nausea and fever.
Reason #2: The benefits of hydrophilic-coated catheters are only available for a single use. This is because the hydrophilic coating is removed when washed, and the catheter requires manual lubrication for reuse. Clinical studies have documented that single-use hydrophilic-coated catheters significantly reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections, as well as urethral damage and trauma, and withdrawal friction, while simultaneously increasing user preference and patient satisfaction, as compared to uncoated catheters with lubrication.
Reason #3: The cost of treating urinary tract infections in catheter users (an estimated $3.5 billion so far) is much higher than the cost of providing single use intermittent catheters. Based on these research findings, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have eliminated mandatory reuse practices, and now allow for sterile single use catheters for each catheterization.
Reason #4: Intermittent catheters were never made or approved by the FDA for repeated use. They are Single Use Devices (SUDs), and when used repeatedly pose significant risk for infection or product failure, endangering patient health and safety.
Reason #5: Why struggle and fuss with washing, and drying catheters? Individuals with neurogenic bladder and their caregivers should have the quality, freedom and convenience of sterile single use intermittent catheters. Single use intermittent catheters represent the best practices in medicine our healthcare system has to offer.
Reason #6: Individuals who experience infections even with sterile single use catheters should increase their efforts to avoid infection by using catheter kits. They should not give up their efforts to avoid urinary tract infections, and go back to washing and reusing catheters. Medicare provides catheter kits for individuals who experience two distinct documented urinary tract infections in a twelve month period while using sterile intermittent catheters. Catheter kits are sterile insertion supplies containing gloves, antiseptic wipe, drapes, and lubricant. Closed system catheter kits additionally contain a drainage bag.
Additional preventative measure include: thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water before and after each catheterization, ensuring the bladder is completely empty at each catheterization, catheterizing at least 6 times a day, ensuring adequate water and Vitamin C intake, and dietary improvement.