Each year the NHS in England admits 16.6 million people to hospital1 and around 19% of them are catheterised.2 Evidence suggests that in around 30-50% of cases there is no clear clinical indication for catheterisation.3,4,5
When there are indications for urinary catheterisation the catheter there are often delays in removing the catheter when it is no longer required.6 An estimated 90,000 people living in the community have long term indwelling urinary catheters.7 Around 34,500 people in UK care homes have urinary catheters, and in around 8,625 cases there are no clinical indications for those catheters.8
How catheterisation can affect health
Urinary catheters used appropriately can enable people with urinary incontinence to remain dry when other methods have failed. They can enable people who are dying to remain at home. They can help enable severe pressure ulcers to heal. Table 1 indicates the appropriate indications for indwelling urinary catheterisation.9
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