At Hospice of South Louisiana, we encounter dedicated family members who pour their hearts into aiding their loved ones. However, there are certain aspects of familial caregiving that come with greater challenges. When a loved one is in hospice, seemingly awkward and uncomfortable questions can arise, such as, “Can hospice patients have a catheter?” The need for toileting assistance can be a source of discomfort for both patients and their families. We’re here to answer your questions, so you or a loved one can enter into hospice without confusion.
Hospice of South Louisiana’s nurses offer toileting assistance, circumnavigating discomfort by providing professional care that isn’t clouded with familiarity. We are dedicated to assisting our patients with their toileting needs in a way that retains their dignity.
While they are not always required with hospice care, hospice patients can have a catheter when it is deemed medically beneficial. Catheters help patients who are unable to relieve their bladders without assistance. Additionally, catheters can be a safer, more comfortable option for patients who require frequent urination.
Here is what you need to know about catheters to determine if it is the right option for you or your loved one.
What Does A Catheter Do?
A catheter is a small, flexible tube used to perform urinary catheterization. Urinary catheterization is a medical procedure in which a doctor or nurse inserts a catheter into their patient’s body to collect and drain urine from the patient’s bladder. There are two forms of placement for urinary catheterization.
- Urethral Catheters are placed in the tube where urine passes (the urethra).
- Suprapubic Catheters are inserted through a small hole made in the lower abdomen.
Once the catheter is placed at its entry point, it is guided into the bladder where it serves as a conduit for the patient’s urine to drain from their bladder.
Catheters should only remain in place for the duration deemed medically beneficial and necessary. Hospice of South Louisiana’s staff is trained and equipped to perform urinary catheterization for patients who require it.
When Are Catheters Needed?
Often, catheters are only required to provide short-term urinary assistance. However, they can be beneficial for long-term aid. Additionally, permanent catheters are available for the select cases that require them.
Short-Term Catheter Use
Short-term catheter’s employ the urethral catheter application method.
Intermittent catheters are the most common and trusted way to meet patients urinary assistance needs. Prior to their use, intermittent catheters are sterilized and lubricated to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort.
This type of catheter can either be left open-ended and drained into a toilet, or it can be attached to a disposable bag. A new intermittent catheter is inserted each time a patient needs to relieve their bladder, and it is removed once the patient’s bladder is empty.
Due to an intermittent catheter’s frequent insertion, patient’s should be guided by a trained medical professional in how to perform clean intermittent self-catheterization (CISC).
Long-Term Catheter Use
Indwelling catheters have the same insertion method as intermittent catheters (urethral), but they remain fixed in the patient’s bladder by a water-filled balloon. This type of catheter should be changed and replaced monthly or more often if necessary.
Indwelling catheters, commonly referred to as Foley catheters, often drain into a collection bag. The collection bag is fastened to a patient’s leg or hangs from a stand on the floor near the patient’s bed.
Additionally, there are non-free-draining alternatives that employ an operable valve. This type of catheter allows the patient’s bladder to fill and gives the patient the freedom to choose when they want to drain their bladder.
A patient may require the assistance of a temporary catheter for short or long term use when:
- They have a blockage, such as a bladder stone, preventing their urethra from draining on its own.
- They are preparing for a surgery that limits their bladder function such as a hysterectomy.
- They are unconscious or rehabilitating from a medical procedure.
Permanent Urinary Catheters
These catheters are typically suprapubic catheters inserted using a general anesthetic, epidural anesthetic, or local anesthetic. The procedure must be repeated every 6 to 8 weeks. It is drained in the same way as indwelling catheters.
While permanent urinary catheters are not an ideal long-term solution, they can be necessary for patients who:
- Suffer from a nervous system malfunction that prevents them from controlling their bladder muscles and nerves. This is common in patients with: spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis.
- Have sustained acute trauma to their spine, pelvis, or bladder preventing them from controlling their bladder function.
Can Hospice Patients Have a Catheter? What Are the Risks?
Approximately 1 in 10 patients who use a catheter contract a urinary tract infection. Risk of infection increases the longer the catheter is in place, and if the patient is inserting the catheter themselves.
Hospice of South Louisiana reduces these risks by inserting catheters for our patients when they are deemed medically necessary. Additionally, our dedicated nurses are able to train caregivers to safely assist our patients to the toilet or change them in bed, eliminating the need for a catheter in most cases. Catheters are often uncomfortable, and most patients prefer to avoid them when possible.
A person’s sensitive need to receive toileting assistance in their final stage of life doesn’t need to be a source of discomfort to them or their family members. If you or your loved one require toileting assistance, please reach out to our office. Hospice of South Louisiana’s physicians help our patients find a care plan that meets their needs, and our skilled nurses execute assistive care services that retain our patient’s dignity,