Quality statement 6: Indwelling catheters

Quality statement

Women with urinary incontinence have indwelling urethral catheters for long‑term treatment only if they have an assessment and discussion of the practicalities and potential urological complications.

Rationale

Long‑term use of indwelling urethral catheters can be associated with increased risk of urinary tract infections and urethral complications, and can affect daily life. Therefore, healthcare professionals should discuss with the woman (and her family or carer if appropriate) the practicalities, benefits and risks of this treatment.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that healthcare professionals offer women with urinary incontinence long‑term treatment with indwelling urethral catheters only if they have had assessment and discussion aboutthe practicalities and potential urological complications.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of women with urinary incontinence who had assessment and discussion of the practicalities and potential urological complications of the long‑term use of indwelling urethral catheters.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who had assessment and discussion of the practicalities and potential urological complications of long‑term use of indwelling urethral catheters before the fitting of the indwelling urethral catheter.

Denominator – the number of women with urinary incontinence who have indwelling urethral catheters for long‑term use.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers (such as GP practices, community continence services and hospitals) ensure that systems are in place to assess and discuss the practicalities and potential urological complications of indwelling urethral catheters with women with urinary incontinence before these are fitted for long‑term use.

Healthcare professionals ensure that they assess women with urinary incontinence and discuss the practicalities and potential urological complications before they offer indwelling urethral catheters for long‑term use.

Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups) ensure that they commission services that assess and discuss the practicalities and potential urological complications of indwelling urethral catheters with women with urinary incontinence before these are fitted for long‑term use.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

Women with leakage of urine are offered an assessment and a discussion with their healthcare professional about the day‑to‑day use and possible complications of having a catheter before they are offered this for long‑term treatment. This will help the woman to decide whether a catheter is right for her.

Source guidance

Equality and diversity considerations

Women with physical disabilities may have difficulty accessing the service so provision needs to be made for a home visit if necessary.

Women with learning disabilities may need to be escorted by a support worker or family member and may need to receive information about the condition in a way that is easy for them to understand.

Some women, including those from certain ethnic groups, religious or cultural backgrounds, may prefer to have an assessment and discussion with a female healthcare professional. Provision for this should be made, if possible.