Catheters and Catheterisation

31 January 2013

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement:  

Harm-free Care

“Harm free care” is part of the Quality Innovation, Productivity & Prevention (QIPP) programme implemented by the national QIPP Safe Care workstream.  Its aim is to eliminate harm in patients from four common conditions:

•    pressure ulcers
•    falls
•    urinary tract infections in patients with a catheter
•    new venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Specifically in relation to (but not exclusive to) the prevention of catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI’s) in this instance, the importance of harm free care education on appropriate product availability, usage and aftercare is taken seriously.

(Read more about CAUTIs by CLICKING HERE)  

The emphasis and priority that CliniSupplies places on innovation and improvements to patient safety and best practice  will not diminish when the  NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, closes on the 31st April, 2013.   
CliniSupplies is aware that the Institute for Innovation and Improvement  will be replaced by a ‘new Improvement Body’ from the 1st April, 2013.  As this will take the form of a new kind of NHS organisation hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board, it will still have the remit of helping to transform the NHS.  Its role is to help to “create the conditions and momentum for change at an unprecedented scale and pace.”  Currently, work is being undertaken to determine the priorities for the new Improvement Body which will support both the Outcomes Framework and the work of the NHS Commissioning Board’s Five Domains which are:

•    'Prevention
•    Long Term Conditions
•    Acute Care
•    Patient Experience and Safety'⁴⁸ NHS Inst for Innovation & Improvement (2012)

As such, CliniSupplies remains keen to keep up with the scale and pace of change and, within their remit, to work with commissioners, providers and partners of commissioned care to meet the urology needs of the local healthcare population within all 5 domains.

History of Urinary Catheters and Catheterisation

A urinary catheter is a soft hollow tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine and occasionally to insert medication and other solution preparations.  By incorporating aspects of two definitions⁴⁹⁺⁵⁰ Medcondions 2010-2012 , Medical Dictionary 2002 a combined and more comprehensive definition of catheters becomes:

“Urinary Catheterisation (the procedure) is the insertion of a flexible hollow tube passed either through the urethra (urethral) or lower abdominal wall (suprapubic) for the purpose of draining urine or instilling fluids for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes.  It is an invasive procedure that can carry the risk of trauma and infection.”
The use of urinary catheters is not new. Catheters date back as far as 3000 BC with reports of them being made from dried reeds, palm leaves, animal skins and cheese glue.⁵¹ Cule 1980 Further developments led to metal catheters made from gold, tin, lead and silver.⁵² Robinson 2001 However, more malleable catheters became available in 1844 with the perfection of the vulcanisation of rubber.⁵³ Woodward 1997
Natural rubber latex comes from a single rubber tree called Hevea Brasiliensis native to South America.  It  has been widely employed for the manufacture of healthcare products including urinary catheters owing to its desirable properties. These include its high-tensile strength and its flexibility coupled with excellent elastic recovery.⁵⁴  Gomez 2012   It is also inexpensive and is easily processed with low production costs.

Note:  It is important that you ask your patients’ whether they have a known latex allergy or sensitivity

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