Being told that you have to catheterize in order to empty your bladder can be a scary thing to hear at any age, but a child can especially take this hard. He or she may feel different than other children, or they might feel they are alone in their specific condition. Whether your child experienced a traumatic event that damaged their spinal cord or has always had issues since birth due to a condition like spina bifida, the important thing is that they get as much support as possible. Let them know that there are many other kids all over the world who use catheters every day. If your child requires self-catheterization to empty their bladder, there are ways to help ensure their comfort, safety, and future independence.
Tips for Helping Your Child Learn Self-Catheterization
1. Learn more about self-cathing.
Before you can provide help to your child, you must be able to have the information to offer guidance. Therefore, you should obviously do plenty of research. This starts with your doctor and nurse discussing the various types of catheters, how to catheterize, basic hygiene when self-cathing, adverse effects to avoid, and other concerns that you might have.
Your child’s healthcare professional will want to speak with you and your child before he or she recommends self-catheterization to make sure your child is able to cath on their own too. In addition to your doctor, there are many other resources out there that you may want to utilize.
We have our own 180 Medical Kids Club, which was established to help children and their parents adjust to this new way of life.
2. Be patient and adaptable.
Understand that it might take some time for your child to get used to self-cathing. The amount of time will depend on their age and level of independence. It’s important to provide positive instruction and allow your child ample time to complete the task. Remember that practice makes perfect, and your child may not master it immediately.
3. Make sure to follow your doctor’s prescribed orders.
Your child’s healthcare professional will have laid out a basic cathing schedule, based on their individual needs and severity of the condition. It may help to reinforce self-cathing as a positive habit by creating a schedule of specific times to go to the bathroom.
If your child goes to school, this will need to be taken into account. You can create alerts on your child’s mobile phone or watch, but you may want to try to get them to remember on their own too, so they don’t have to always rely upon others or technology as they continue to grow up and gain more independence.
A child brand-new to catheterization may have some hurdles to overcome, but it is possible to live a normal life while cathing. As a parent or guardian, you can play a key role in helping your child view this routine as a positive thing that allows them to stay healthy and become more self-reliant as they learn the basics of using pediatric catheters.