There are various accessories that can be used to assist with either indwelling catheter use or the process of Intermittent catheterisation.
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The following catheter accessories are available:
Intermittent catheterisation aids
A catheter valve attaches to the drainage port of an indwelling catheter to provide an alternative to a leg or drainage bag. They are considered a good and effective means of catheter drainage, provided an appropriate and thorough assessment has first been carried out by a healthcare professional.
Using a catheter valve means that urine is stored in the bladder and is drained by the user at regular periods throughout the day. Some people find this more normal and find it gives more choice and freedom from wearing a leg bag.
Catheter valves can be used with indwelling urethral or supra-pubic catheters.
You need to have fairly good use of your hands, and be able to remember to go to the toilet to empty your bladder at regular periods throughout the day.
There is some research evidence to suggest that use of a catheter valve may help reduce catheter encrustation and blockage by promoting a more natural flushing action of the bladder1more research is needed in this area
The use of valves may also be associated with improved bladder tone and capacity.
You need a full and thorough assessment by an appropriately trained healthcare professional to assess whether a catheter valve would be suitable for you2
Valves are generally not suitable for people who have: poor use of their hands (manual dexterity), poor bladder capacity, detrusor overactivity, ureteric reflux, renal impairment or cognitive impairment.
Many designs are available, some are more discreet under clothes, whilst others may be easier to open.
Think about your personal priorities; for example, a larger tap or opening mechanism could be easier to open but may be less discreet under clothing. It is worth looking at all the designs available to find one most suited to your lifestyle.
You may find that some are easier to open than others. It may be worth trying a few different designs to see which one works best for you. Manufacturers often offer free samples on their websites.
Each valve can be worn for up to seven days.
It is recommended that the valve is worn both day and night but is connected (and opened in order to drain freely) to a sterile drainage bag at night. This helps to minimise the risks of micro-organisms getting into your catheter and bladder.
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Hear more about catheter valves
To prevent discomfort associated with your indwelling catheter pulling or dragging down, you can use a stabilisation device. These help to hold or anchor the catheter in place.
These type of devices may also reduce the risk of getting a catheter associated infection (CAUTI) as they minimise 'to and fro' movement or a piston effect, which might introduce micro-organisms into the bladder3
Elasticated straps are available which are worn around the upper thigh (or abdomen for a SPC) to hold the catheter firmly in place; these straps may be washed and reused.
Alternatively, adhesive devices that may be worn for up to seven days are available. They stick to the leg (or abdomen for SPCs) and are worn day and night. When they are ready to be removed you throw them away and use a new device.
If you are having problems with your urethral catheter pulling or dragging down, look at Straps and support garments for products designed to support leg bags in place on the thigh or calf.
Intermittent catheterisation can be difficult to perform if you have limited mobility or poor use of your hands, but there are several devices available which may help:
Handles – intermittent catheters are fairly small and thin and if you have a problem with your hands or find a pincer grip difficult you might find them too fiddly to use. Special intermittent catheters are available that come with a handle already attached or specially designed grips are available that attach to the end of the catheter (these are larger and make holding the catheter easier).
Leg spreaders - these are designed to help separate the legs and hold them apart during catheterisation. Some have a mirror / light source attached. Both inflatable and metal leg spreaders are available; the metal ones are more expensive and some people find them harder to use than the inflatable ones, which are cheaper and easier to carry.
Penis holder – this can be used to hold and support the penis in a good position to make catheterisation easier. They are particularly useful if you have a small or retracted penis (common after prostate surgery) or if you have poor use of your hands or only have use of one hand.
Labia holder (women only) – this is designed to help spread the labia (vaginal lips) to help expose the entrance to the urethra. It may be useful for women who have poor use of their hands or only have the use of one hand. If you have poor eyesight and are catheterising by feel alone you may find this useful as it will enable you to use both hands to feel for the urethral opening.
If you have any tips on things that you have found useful, which may be helpful to other users please consider submitting your ideas as a user tip.
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