Study on the Use of Long-term Urinary Catheters in Community-Dwelling Individuals

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PURPOSEThe purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and distribution of catheter-related problems in long-term indwelling urinary catheter users. We also sought to assess appropriateness of catheter use and examine relationships among catheter complications and catheter care practices.DESIGNThis repeated-measures study involved self-reported data collection by recall at intake and by prospective data collection at 2, 4, and 6 months in long-term urinary catheter users.SUBJECTS AND SETTINGTwo sampling arms were used: a home care (HC) agency with 10 individuals and the Internet with 33 people having spinal cord injury.METHODSHome visit and follow-up telephone call interviews were used with the participants from the HC agency. Data were self-administered through SurveyMonkey in the Internet sample, and communication was through e-mail, telephone, and postal mail. Analysis included descriptive statistics and generalized estimating equation techniques to adjust for within-subject variation over time.RESULTSAll study participants had at least 1 catheter-related problem during 8 months, and many had multiple, recurring problems. Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) was reported by 70%, blockage by 74%, leakage by 79%, and accidental dislodgement by 33%. Key tests of associations (generalized estimating equation) predicted that catheter size contributed to CAUTI, with significant covariates of female gender and younger age. The presence of sediment in the urine on the day of the survey predicted catheter blockage.CONCLUSIONThe incidence of all complications was higher than expected. Problems associated with long-term indwelling catheter use may contribute to excess healthcare utilization adversely affecting both users and their families.

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