The information needs of people living with a long-term indwelling urinary catheter are often poorly served, with patients learning to live with one through “trial and error”, according to UK researchers.
A team from Oxford University said “little” was previously known about the varied and detailed information needs of long-term indwelling catheter users.
”Nurses are in a good position to find out what people know and what they need”
The researchers conducted 36 interviews in patients living in the community with a catheter for three months. Participants ranged in age from 22-96 years.
After having a catheter first fitted patients said they wanted more technical information about the device, the interviews revealed. They also wanted information to help prevent catheter-related physical problems, such as infection, blockage and leaking.
In addition, they requested more information on the potential impact of catheters on sexual activity, the siting of the device and about managing a social life with one.
In the absence of information being provided, the study found patients sometimes experimented with the catheter, learning to live with it through trial and error, used the internet to find out more, or contacted other patients or organisations.
The study authors said: “Research has consistently shown that indwelling catheter users need to be given more information, but some patients still feel poorly informed.
“Nurses are in a good position to find out what people know, what they need, and to ensure that patients have contact phone numbers for further information and details of reliable websites and support organisations,” they said in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.