Since the introduction of clean intermittent catheterization as a way to drain the bladder, intermittent catheter technology continues to advance. No-touch catheters have become especially popular among catheter users. Find out why with our handy guide to no-touch catheters.
WHAT IS A NO-TOUCH CATHETER?
No-touch catheters (also known as touch-free catheters or touchless catheters) are advanced catheter products that keep the process of self-catheterization more sterile. Generally, these are either closed system catheters (sterile catheter kits) or hydrophilic catheters where users can easily advance the catheter forward to insert without directly touching it. This minimizes the risk of contamination from the hands.
Catheter users often prefer this catheter type due to how easy and convenient they are to use. In addition, they may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Touch-free catheterization shows to be quite effective at preventing catheter-associated UTIs in people with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Clinical studies demonstrated that the use of no-touch catheters is associated with a 30% UTI reduction.
WHY SHOULD I USE A NO-TOUCH CATHETER?
Many catheter-users choose closed system catheters because of their overall ease of use, comfort, discretion, convenience, and travel-readiness. Of course, the reduction of UTIs is an added bonus.
NO-TOUCH CATHETER OPTIONS
When it comes to choosing a no-touch catheter system, you have quite a few options, depending on your insurance coverage.
Here are the 2 main options of no-touch catheters:
Closed System Catheters
Closed system catheters are the preferred cathing system for many, including people in wheelchairs, children, and those who travel, work, or go to school.
These catheters come pre-lubricated inside their own sterile collection bags and ready to use. Others may have a hydrophilic coating that is easily activated by sterile water to become lubricated. Closed system catheter kits often have everything you need to cath hygienically in an all-in-one package. Insertion supplies often include helpful cathing accessories like gloves and antiseptic wipes.
Another awesome feature of many closed system catheters is the soft, flexible introducer tip. The introducer tip works by shielding the tip of the catheter and helping it bypass the bacteria in the outermost section of the urethra. This may further help reduce the risk of UTIs.
If your insurance policy does not cover closed system catheters (billed under HCPC code A4353), you may still be able to qualify for a hydrophilic catheter. Hydrophilic catheters either come pre-hydrated and ready to use or easily activated by an included sterile water packet.
Once it’s ready to use, the catheter stays optimally lubricated and offers a smooth insertion. Hydrophilic catheters minimize urethral friction, which can also help reduce the risk of infection. Most hydrophilic catheters are no-touch catheters, thanks to included handling sleeves that keep your hands off of the catheter tube.
The popular GentleCath™ Glide, a no-touch hydrophilic catheter for both males and females, was created to make cathing more comfortable. It also reduces the mess left behind by alternate brands of hydrophilic catheters.
Intermittent straight catheters aren’t no-touch catheters. However, some cathing techniques can reduce the risk of contamination from hands, like using gloves and antiseptic wipes.
Still not sure which catheter option is right for you? Contact us today and speak with a trained catheter specialist who can help you decide which intermittent catheter is best for your unique circumstances. Your health is too important to risk not using the right catheter product.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not to be taken as medical advice. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and medical advice of your professional healthcare provider.
Sources: Bennett CJ, Young MN and Darrington H. PubMed. 1995.
Bennett CJ, Young MN, Razi SS, Adkins R, Diaz F, McCrary A. PubMed. 1997.