Cancer patients often require urinary catheters to help them urinate during treatment. While catheters can be helpful, they can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). In this blog post, we will discuss the steps cancer patients with urinary catheters can take to prevent UTIs.
Practice good hygiene
Good hygiene is one of the most important things cancer patients with urinary catheters can do to prevent UTIs. Washing hands before and after handling the catheter, as well as cleaning the catheter and surrounding area with soap and water daily, can help prevent bacterial growth.
Monitor urine output
Cancer patients with urinary catheters should monitor their urine output. If they notice a decrease in urine output or if their urine is cloudy or has an unusual odor, they should notify their healthcare provider immediately. These could be signs of a UTI.
Ensure adequate fluid intake
Encouraging cancer patients with urinary catheters to drink plenty of fluids can help prevent UTIs. Drinking fluids helps to flush out bacteria that can cause infections. However, some cancer treatments may make it difficult for patients to drink enough fluids. In such cases, patients should consult their healthcare provider about other ways to prevent UTIs.
Use sterile technique
Using sterile technique when inserting and maintaining the catheter can also help prevent UTIs. This means using sterile equipment and following proper procedures for inserting and changing the catheter.
Remove the catheter as soon as possible
Removing the catheter as soon as it is no longer needed can also help prevent UTIs. The longer the catheter is in place, the greater the risk of infection.
Finally, cancer patients with urinary catheters may need to use antibiotics to prevent UTIs. Antibiotics may be given prophylactically, or as prescribed by a healthcare provider if a UTI develops.
By following these steps, cancer patients with urinary catheters can help prevent UTIs. It’s important to speak to a healthcare provider about any concerns or questions regarding catheter use and UTI prevention.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hai/ca_uti/uti.html
National Cancer Institute. (2021). Urinary Catheters in Cancer Care. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/urinary-catheters