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Linda Nazarko
British Journal of Community Nursing, Vol. 17, Iss. 9, 07 Sep 2012, pp 408 - 412

In the past, the only way to drain a bladder was to use intermittent catheterisation. For four millennia, intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) was used to treat bladder dysfunction. That changed in the 20th century when Foley redesigned and improved on 19th century designs for an indwelling urethral catheter. While some patients benefit from indwelling catheters, long- and short-term indwelling catheters can increase infection risks and contribute to bladder dysfunction. NICE guidance on infection control recommends that intermittent catheterisation should be used in preference to an indwelling catheter if it is a clinically appropriate and practical option for the patient. NICE also recommends that patients should be offered a choice of either single-use hydrophilic or gel reservoir catheters for intermittent self-catheterisation. Voiding problems increase the risks of infection, bladder and renal dysfunction, and can impair quality of life. Individuals who have reasonable bladder capacity and sufficient dexterity and motivation can regain bladder control using ISC, which can make a huge difference to their health and wellbeing.

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