COVID-19 information

Visiting is once again welcomed at The Walton Centre. So that we can safely reintroduce visiting, visits should be pre-booked with an allocated appointment slot. Patients can have two visitors each.

General safety measures remain in place at The Walton Centre - and in our other clinic settings within the community – until further notice. These include temperature checks, the wearing of face coverings and social distancing.

Urinary catheter - Preventing infection

What is a urinary catheter?

A catheter is a thin, clean hollow tube which is usually made of soft plastic or rubber. It is placed in the bladder to drain urine away from it and usually goes into the bladder the same route as the urine comes out. Holes at the top of the tube allow urine to flow through it and the end of the tube is attached to a catheter drainage bag which collects the urine. The catheter is held in place in the bladder by a small balloon filled with water.Why is a urinary catheter needed?

Urinary catheterisation is carried out for a number of reasons and can either be a temporary or permanent solution to a number of problems:

  • To monitor urine drainage during the first few days following surgery
  • To monitor urine drainage in patients receiving intravenous fluids via a drip
  • To monitor urine drainage in patients who are critically ill or who have undergone major surgery
  • For long term chronic problems that prevent people from emptying their bladder e.g spinal cord injury or nerve damage
  • After certain type of surgery to help people retrain their bladders to empty e.g spinal surgery
  • To provide comfort for the terminally ill patient
  • If there is a risk of urine leaking on to a wound in the buttock area which may delay healing of the wound

How do I get a catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)?

People with urinary catheters have a much higher chance of getting a urinary tract infection than people who don’t have a catheter. If germs enter the urinary tract, they may cause an infection. Many of the germs that cause a CAUTI infection are common germs found in your intestines that do not usually cause an infection there. Germs can enter the urinary tract when the catheter is being put in or while the catheter remains in the bladder. Most catheter-associated urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics and removal or change of the catheter. Your doctor will determine which antibiotic is best for you if you develop a CAUTI.

What are the symptoms of a CAUTI?

Some of the common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen (that is, below the stomach) or back
  • Fever
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Bloody urine may be a sign of infection, but is also caused by other problems
  • Cloudy urine or urine that smells

What are some of the things that The Walton Centre is doing to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections?

To prevent urinary tract infections, doctors and nurses at the Walton Centre take the following actions:

  • Catheters are inserted only if absolutely necessary and are removed as soon as possible
  • Only properly trained members of staff insert catheters using a sterile (“clean”) technique
  • Nurses and Doctors put on aprons and gloves and clean their hands by washing them with soap and water or (by using an alcohol-based hand rub) before and after touching your catheter.
  • Nurses and Doctors avoid disconnecting the catheter and drainage tube unless it is absolutely necessary. This helps to prevent germs from getting into the catheter tube.
  • Nurses monitor the position of the catheter tubing and bag to avoid twisting or kinking of the tubing.
  • Nurses ensure that the catheter bag is kept lower than the bladder to prevent back flow of urine to the bladder
  • Nurses ensure that the drainage spout does not touch the floor at any time.
  • If you do not see your nurse or doctor clean their hands before touching your catheter, please ask them to do so.

What can I do to help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections if I have a catheter?

• Always clean around your catheter daily with soap and water.
• Always clean your hands before and after doing catheter care.
• Always keep your urine bag below the level of your bladder.
• Do not tug or pull on the tubing.
• Do not twist or kink the catheter tubing.
• Ask your nurse or doctor each day if you still need the catheter.

Contact us

For more information, please contact the Infection Prevention and Control Team on 0151 529 5599

  • Last Updated:
    01 March 2016
  • Review Date:
    01 March 2020
  • Author:
    Infection Prevention and Control
  • Summary:

    What is a urinary catheter and how to prevent an infection 

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