5 useful tips for catheter users during the lockdown

You might be worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life, especially if you are a catheter user or you look after a catheter user.

Many users have been asked to ‘Shield’ by the government, and others are taking extra measures to protect themselves. For many, the usual services that we rely on for advice have been reduced or are unavailable, so here are our 5 top tips for living in Lockdown if you are a catheter user.

1. Continue looking after your catheter as normal

During the lockdown it is easy to let our normal routine slip. However, just because you are in quarantine or in self-isolation doesn’t mean your catheter care routine should change. Stick to your normal catheter care routine and take extra care to wash your hands before and after touching your catheter to minimise the risk of infection.

We have created a video on how to best look after your suprapubic catheter:

If you ever have any drainage issues with your catheter we also have a useful blog on the steps to take if your catheter is not draining properly.

2. Connect with other catheter users

With social distancing measures in full action, it can be easy to start feeling lonely.

One of the best way to remain “social” in this period, is through the use of social media. If you are a suprapubic catheter user, we recommend a facebook group called “Suprapubic Catheter Users UK”. The community answers questions from all members and provides recommendations on living with a catheter and sharing their general day to day experiences. The group is growing rapidly, with new posts on a daily basis and there is a helpful set of announcements at the top of the feed for new suprapubic catheter users.

For more tips on connecting with catheter users read our blog on the topic.

3. Keep taking your medication

Your catheter prescriptions should continue as normal, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone. Or you may be able to do this online using an app or website, if your doctor’s surgery offers this. You could download the free NHS App and search for your surgery.

Ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you. This will usually be possible, although if it’s a controlled drug the pharmacy might ask for proof of identity. Make sure anyone collecting medication knows if they have to pay for it. The NHS website has more information about getting prescriptions for someone else and checking if you have to pay for prescriptions.

Keep an adequate stock of catheter supplies. All suppliers are experiencing changes to the way they work and many are experiencing disruption to their supply chains. If possible, try and get hold of more than your usual requirements of catheters, bags and accessories in case there are any delivery delays

4. Stay hydrated and eat healthy

Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. Try setting an alarm or using an app to remind you to keep drinking.

If you are self-isolating, you can ask someone to drop off essential food items for you. If they do this, ask them to leave food at your doorstep, to avoid face-to-face contact with each other. Check the UK government scheme to see if you are eligible for free food parcel deliveries to your door.

5. Keep your mind and body stimulated

It can be hard to stimulate the mind and body if you are inside your house the whole day. However, this time away from some of the normal pressures of life can provide a great opportunity to learn a new skill or reconnect with an old hobby.

Blogger Scott Young has some excellent blog posts on ‘Ultralearning’ – the skill of learning and mastering new subjects. Why not check out his blog and apply his methods to learning a new language or getting to grips with a topic of interest.

We hope you found this blog useful, make sure to follow government guidance on washing hands and social distancing which can be found here.

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