Catheter question?

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Distinguished member
Jan 9, 2008
Lost a loved one
I was wondering whats going to come next for Mom, but because it is getting so hard to transfer her, especially for Dad at night, does a catheter make sense? How long can you keep one in?.
Hi Northerngirl -

I would be really reluctant to put a catheter into a female patient. Do you have a lift to help with transfers? I believe Medicare and most insurances pay for basic Hoyer lifts. You might want to check with ALSA or MDA - I know of several people that got overhead lifts through the loan closets - by far the best kind of lifts, but kind of pricey. Ther is also an Easy Pivot lift that might be available - although I do not recommend purchasing it.

There is a female "urine diverter" invented by a nurse in the ALS field (California, I believe), sort of like a urinal but smaller and adapted to female anatomy. That works fairly well - we were able to use it and the tubing to channel urine into the commode -used it frequently for going out. It takes getting used to to prevent leaks and spills - but does work. I believe it is called "Freshette" - Google it for more info.

A urinary catheter is a PERFECT vehicle for urinary tract infections. In this age of MRSA I would not even consider it.

My PALS has recently gone to diapers at night. She is a nurse, has all of her faculties, and plans to be around for quite a while. Going to the toilet was just becoming too frequent and too hard - and now she gets a good night's sleep.

She does not see this as degrading or "the end", she sees it as a major convenience. We have found very high quality cloth-type high-absorbency diapers on-line. Prevail is a good brand, as is Tranquility. Avoid the plastic-backed - they can lead to skin-breakdown.

My absolute last choice would be a catheter - I think they would hasten her death by infection - something that is not necessary and is uncomfortable.

Elimination problems are such a hurdle - I am eternally greatful that the PALS I care for has handled this issue with grace and foresight. Everyone needs to go to the bathroom - we just had to find ways to make it safe and comfortable for her. Luckily - shame and embarrassment did not trap us into bad choices - or worse - uncomfortable silence.

I wish you good luck with this problem - Beth
Thanks Beth!

Mom was an RN too, it is amazing how may Nurses end up with ALS. In this area it seems. I was asking before I broached the subject with mom. I know it is easier for men.(cathaters)
Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate it.
I've already decided that diapers are going to be fine for me. When my Mom's memory was beginning to fail she announced she would rather have diapers than accidents. She asked for an outing to the store so she could pick out her style and brand. I watched how relaxed she became, knowing she was "protected" and agree with her. Cindy
My sister is having more and more difficulty with transfers to and from the bathroom as well. She has a lift...not sure of the REAL name, we call it the "Barbie stand". It raises her to a standing position from her chair and then you can wheel her into the bathroom and lower her onto the toilet. The problem is that even though the lift is providing all the power, she has a hard time breathing at times during the transfer and she has to work at keeping her arms from raising up above her head (I suppose there's the possibility that she'd slip down through the strap...although it's cinched around her middle pretty tightly). Last week she was pretty tired and weak and she's attributing that to trips to the bathroom.

I'm not sure what route she's planning to take with the situation...

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