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Indwelling catheters: Insertion and management of short-term catheters

CPD Hours



Clinical practice and procedures
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Indwelling urinary catheters (indwelling catheters; IDCs) are used to empty the bladder. Short-term indwelling catheters are indicated for patients with urinary retention or bladder dysfunction, or to assist with the management of urine and monitoring of urine output in critical care, acute care, and perioperative settings.

Despite their advantages, there are significant risks associated with use, including:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTI or catheter associated UTI; CAUTI)
  • Prolonged lengths of hospital stay
  • Increased morbidity and mortality

This module provides an overview of the indications for short-term catheterisation, and risks and complications associated with use. It then describes a generalised technique for IDC insertion and removal, and a review of effective nursing interventions to reduce the risk of UTIs in clinical practice.

IDC insertion and catheter care guidelines outlined in this module are general recommendations based on best nursing practice. Local guidelines should always be adhered to in clinical settings. All nursing and midwifery personnel should refer to their facility’s guidelines.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Highlight the indications for the use of short-term catheterisation.
  • Understand the risks, complications, and contraindications associated with the use of indwelling urinary catheters.
  • Describe general steps for indwelling urinary catheter insertion.
  • Discuss the principles of catheter maintenance.
  • Understand the best practice evidence based interventions that can be used to prevent common complications associated with the use of short-term catheters.
  • Be able to collect a urine sample from a catheter port and know the risks associated with sample testing from indwelling urinary catheters.

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