How to Prevent Waste of Urological and Ostomy Supplies

By Clare Absher RN, BSN  

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Foley catheter supplies

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Urological and ostomy supplies are very expensive, making the need to avoid waste and extend wear your prime focus. Try some of these practical strategies to spare supplies and reduce your outlay.

Urinary Catheters and Drainage Bags

The two types of urinary catheters are external sometimes known as Texas catheters and internal or indwelling catheters also known as Foley catheters. Internal catheter insertion is always a sterile procedure that requires sterile gloves and one-time use of supplies. In contrast, external catheter attachment requires only a clean technique, which makes it possible to cut cost by efficient use and re-use of supplies.

External catheters come in many shapes, sizes, and materials but all are fitted or applied like a condom to the outside of the penis. A drainage tube is then attached to the end of the catheter and connected to a leg bag or bedside bag. Follow 3 strategies to avoid waste and extend wear of external urinary catheters. First, carefully prep the skin with skin barriers prior to application to ensure good adherence. Second, use anchoring devices such as Velcro straps and elastic belts to secure tubing on the leg that will prevent excess pulling on catheters causing premature dislodgment. Third, safely re-use urinary bedside drainage bags and leg bags by simply washing with white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 3 part H20) and hanging in bathroom to dry.

Colostomy and Ileostomy Supplies

Prolong the wear of stoma wafers by prepping generously with skin barriers such as skin prep for longer adherence while protecting skin at the same time. Use a blow dryer to ensure skin is completely dry around the stoma before trying to apply ostomy barriers and wafers. Use stoma adhesive paste in crevices or uneven peri-stomal skin to help create a smooth surface resulting in a better seal. Always make it your priority to obtain good adherence and a tight seal when changing your ostomy appliance.

Keep in mind that ostomy bags and pouches can also be safely re-used by washing with white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 3 part H20). Note that using costly sterile pads and gauzes for stoma cleaning is not called for when a warm washcloth or basic wipe is all that is needed.

Urostomy Supplies

Urostomy supplies are also expensive and may be used more efficiently. It is essential with urostomy changes to manage the continuous urine leakage in order to create a good strong seal. One very effective technique demonstrated by a nurse specialist to facilitate the changing process is to insert a feminine tampon (1/4 inch) into stoma. The tampon absorbs the urine leakage keeping the skin dry allowing for a strong lasting seal. Applying stoma adhesive paste in crevices or uneven peri-stomal skin will help create a better seal with urostomy changes as well.

Clare Absher RN BSN

About the Author

Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 44 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.

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