Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect the urinary tract, including the bladder, urethra, or kidneys.
UTI’s are one of the leading causes of potential life- threatening E. coli bloodstream infections among over 65’s and are a major contributor to the burden of antibiotic resistant infections in the UK. Older adults are more likely to be admitted to hospital with a UTI.
The following is recommended to prevent UTI’s for those with indwelling catheters:
(a thin hollow flexible tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine)
- Wash your hands with soap and water every time before and after touching the catheter and any equipment attached to it.
- If possible, make sure people with a catheter have a daily shower with their bag or valve attached.
- If it is not possible to have a shower, ensure you wash the skin in the area where the catheter enters the body with unscented soaps or gels and water at least daily.
- For men, it is important to wash under the foreskin, replacing afterwards, unless circumcised.
- After using the toilet, encourage wiping from front to back to avoid moving poo from the bottom to the catheter.
- Urinary catheter use comes with a risk of infection, in fact for every day the catheter stays in the risk of infection increases. Therefore, long term use should be avoided wherever possible. Discuss other options with a healthcare professional and ensure catheters are regularly reviewed by the GP or a continence nurse.