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Intermittent catheterisation: Making the right choice

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Intermittent self catheterisation (ISC) offers control, independence and, ultimately and most importantly, a better quality of life for patients. Its introduction in the early 1970s revolutionised the way in which patients with bladder dysfunction could be managed.

Reducing healthcare associated infections is high on the Department of Health’s agenda (DH, 2007) and there is evidence that intermittent catheterisation can reduce urinary tract infection rates in comparison with indwelling catheterisation.

With this in mind Nursing Times and the Association for Continence Advice have collaborated to produce this information aimed at enabling nurses to assist, support and inform patients about ISC. It outlines the principles of patient selection, assessment, teaching and troubleshooting.

Skills for Health (2007) and the Royal College of Nursing (2008) provide clear guidance about competence. It is up to qualified practitioners to ensure they are competent to perform this form of bladder management, in the same way that indwelling catheterisation has been embraced as a nursing skill.

Author Jane Young, RGN, is continence nurse specialist, Hillingdon Community Health and member, ACA Executive Committeemember of ACA

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