A self-administered questionnaire was used to determine care home staff's reported knowledge of the urinary catheter care standards published by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Association of Continence Care, and to see whether this differed in homes with higher catheterization rates. Seven hundred and fifty out of 1438 (52%) nursing and care staff from 37 randomly selected care homes with high, medium and low catheterization rates responded. There was no difference in reported practice in care homes in the three health districts sampled or those with differing catheterization rates. Eighty-three percent of the nursing staff and 40% of the other care staff received formal catheter care training. However, at least 10% of all staff reported not washing their hands before handling a catheter, and delaying emptying a urine bag until it was full, rather than three-quarters full. Only 45% of nursing staff and 40% of other care staff encouraged residents to empty their own catheter bags. Routine use of catheter maintenance solutions or bladder washouts was reported by 50% of all staff. Nursing staff (29%) and other care staff (54%) took urine specimens from the catheter bag tap. Compliance with standards has improved greatly since an audit in 1998. However, some non-compliance remains. There is a need for ongoing local audit and formal training in urinary catheter care, particularly for non-qualified care staff. Education is needed to ensure local implementation of NICE guidance.
- Care homes
- Urinary catheterization