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Five Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections

A catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is an infection of the urinary tract caused by bacteria being introduced to the urethra via an indwelling catheter.  So, if you are a catheter user, what can you do to minimise your risk of getting an infection?

1) Maintain a Closed Urinary Drainage System

closed urinary drainage system

A closed system is one whereby the catheter bag is only disconnected when it needs changing. Breaks in the system; disconnecting a drainage bag unnecessarily, increases the risk of infection.

Don’t disconnect your leg bag to connect a night bag. If you need a larger capacity bag overnight, you should connect one to your leg bag as part of an overnight link system.

2) Ensure Aseptic Technique on Insertion and Removal

Good hand hygiene is essential to prevent infection. Healthcare professionals should wash hands and wear a new pair of clean gloves before handling someone’s catheter. If using a catheter pack, there will be equipment to aid aseptic insertion/removal, such as aprons, drapes and gloves. When emptying a catheter bag, or changing your catheter bag, it is important to wash your hands before and after with warm, soapy water.

3) Use Single Use Night Bags

single use night bags

The NHS suggest that single-use night bags reduce the risk of infection. Connect your single-use night bag to your leg bag as part of an overnight link system; do not connect a non-sterile, single-use night bag directly to a urinary catheter. For additional peace of mind and protection against infection, why not try a sterile single-use night bag?

4) Stay Well Hydrated

fluid intake with a catheter

Ensuring you drink plenty of water will prevent against urinary tract infections. Dehydration has been found to increase the risk of infection.  Avoiding irritants such as caffeine, fizzy drinks and alcohol will also keep the bladder healthy.

5) Keep Catheter Bag at a Level Below the Bladder

It is important to remember the rule of gravity; urine cannot flow upwards! Always position your catheter bag at a level below your bladder, with no upward bends in the tubing. This will ensure a continuous flow of urine into the catheter bag. If there are any upward kinks in the tube, the urine may not be able to flow into the catheter bag which may result in urine building up in the tube and into the bladder which could increase the risk of infection.

When using a night bag, position on a night stand below the level of the bed.

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Five Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections