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Daddy has congestive heart failure and was in the hospital this week for two days with fluid build-up. He's back in his AL now, but he told me this morning he thinks he needs to "wear a catheter." He cannot control the urine flow when they increase his diuretic after one of these bouts of extra fluid, and he gets his clothes wet sometimes when he pees. He needs help; and it he has to wait more than a few minutes, accidents happen.


I was very alarmed at the suggestion and wanted to ask if this is ever even a solution to what has to be a common problem in this situation. Use of catheters causes so many other issues, and he is not able to self-care anyway. There is no telling what the facility will charge if he decides he needs a catheter! And I can't believe any doctor would do that just for the convenience of keeping him from having little accidents when he pees, right?


Thoughts? Thanks!

It will cause infections. If your having trouble convincing your Dad, get support from his doctor or a specialist regarding the ramifications. Most AL do not take care of catheters for individuals since it is categorized as "skilled nursing" function. There is a difference between AL versus Skilled Nursing facilities, at least that has been my experience. But you can ask...
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Reply to slp1684
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Direct this question to his urologist.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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My experience comes just from an elderly male friend. He passed away partly as a result of wearing a catheter for over a year! He ended up getting UTI and UTI. The urologist kept trying to get him to have it removed. He didn't want to wear a diaper or diaper brief. He ended up with lots of blood in the bag and many rounds of antibiotics. He died of sepsis and dehydration. So ... be really careful and talk about long-term side effects with his urologist.
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Llamalover47 Sep 24, 2019
Maryjann: Wow. So sorry that happened to your friend. So do you think he would have survived had he had the cath removed?
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Allencic's idea of a Cunningham Clamp also sounded like a good, non invasive alternative. Google it. Good luck to you.
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Reply to Samsung137
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Go to a urologist and ask. You have a couple of alternatives to being catherized to control the leakage and perhaps one will help.
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Reply to my2cents
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They have a catheter that adheres to the inner thigh that is quite safe and convenient. I think it's called a Condom Catheter. You can google it.

And yes, it is prescribed for convenience and many men choose it over having to wear shields and/or adult briefs.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Ten years ago I had surgery for prostate cancer. Getting rid of the cancer was completely successful but I am incontinent. For many years I used the male pads called "Guards." I still use them at night. They work but as the years went by I was using more and more of them each day. At one visit I joked with my urologist, "It doesn't take much pressure to stop the flow, maybe I should just put a clamp on it." To my surprise, he said, "I'll prescribe a Cunningham Clamp" for you." It's a miracle. It is just what it sounds like, a small foam lined clamp that closes the urethra. Easy on, easy off, easy to clean and I once again have a bladder that fills without leaking. I'd recommend it to any man with incontinence. It's even nice to have the feeling of needing to "go" as in the pre surgery days. It's unobtrusive and you don't feel it at all when wearing it. You don't wear it during sleep but otherwise it's a great solution to an annoying problem
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Reply to Allencic
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RedVanAnnie Sep 25, 2019
How helpful of you to be able to offer your experience. The clamp sounds like a good option.
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There are condom catheters for men so that no tube invades the body - investigate this pathway as it has less problems than the other type - EMS use them here for transport to other hospitals
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Reply to moecam
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If he has some control I highly recommend Depends Fit-Flex for Men. They are what my dad wears. After enduring bladder cancer surgery several years ago followed by a severe illness two years ago that wrecked his kidneys, he has trouble controlling his urine. At first he was so embarrassed by the other kind of adult briefs that were bulky and white and looked very diaper-ish, but the Depends look and feel more like underwear (they're a 'manly' dark grey, too). And he says they're very comfortable since the side panels are elastic, and easy to get on and off around the kidney catheter. I buy them at Walmart or online at Amazon and we just refer to them as his underwear.

If this isn't an option then I agree, start with the condom catheter since it's non-invasive.
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Reply to TekkieChikk
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There are condom catheters you could try. That would be better than inserting one.
The problem with inserting a catheter is it can lead to more infections.
If it just a matter of him having to wait until he can get assistance maybe a Urinal that he can keep by his chair or bed. When it is urgent that he get to the bathroom if no one is there the urinal would be close by.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I don't think any doctor is going to allow a permanent catheter to be surgically placed without a good medical reason for doing so and even if a doctor wanted to start placing them at patient request no insurance company would cover it. I agree with the folks here who said adult briefs and bedside urinals are the best options.
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Reply to faeriefiles
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Cut out in pants for his penis and a bucket
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Reply to shad250
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Although we have not used them, I've read that condom catheters are a good alternative to in-dwelling catheters. Some men use them at night to save having to get up a lot to urinate or having to call a caregiver to help. I think these devices are used in the day time too. https://www.healthline.com/health/condom-catheter#candidates
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Reply to newbiewife
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Daughterof1930 Sep 21, 2019
Can only speak from experience with my dad, our attempts with condom catheters have been awful. His pees right out of them, making a bigger mess than a diaper, and they make his skin terrible. He uses a bedside urinal at night in addition to wearing a diaper
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My mother wears a permanent internal catheter and I know for a fact it's easier on women than men. I don't know any men who have them (until the absolute EOL).

Incontinence briefs with a separate pad placed inside worked with dad. But he was pretty much bed bound, so there wasn't a lot of leakage.

Mother has constant UTI's due to the catheters not being cleaned properly. It's a daunting process. Luckily, she does not get 'crazy' with UTI's.

Keeping these things clean is a PT job, Mother can't keep hers clean enough and trying to help her is not allowed. She thinks she's doing fine, so I say nothing. Sometimes I go to her house and her 'secondary catheter' is lying on the bathroom floor, half full of 'sick' urine. She just swipes at the end she inserts and calls it good.

And a lot of men aren't even going to make THAT much effort.
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Reply to Midkid58
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I considered a catheter for my husband as well. He also has CHF and is on Lasix. I (affectionately) call him “Mr. Niagara Falls”. I was told by a nurse that catheters, especially permanent ones, are a nightmare. Infections are very common and with CHF his heart is compromised so an infection is bad, bad news. Hubby wears adult incontinence briefs (don’t call them “diapers”). Proper hygiene is still important but the AIBs are much better than a catheter.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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My dad has end stage CHF, goes into the hospital every few months and gets fluid drained with IV Lasix. His bladder has been termed “worn out” at his age, with no good fixes for it. So between routine Lasix and a failing bladder (add to it that long term use of Lasix often causes kidney issues) he’s a peeing mess. And catheters always, without fail, cause more trouble than they help. No matter which kind he always gets infections from them, without fail. Adult diapers, his words, not mine, are our best way of coping with it. Can certainly be messy but no infections
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