Today we get into catheter care, colostomies, and confusion that comes with them.  Here is an overview of the podcast.

Catheter Care

  • Many elderly do very well with managing their catheters independently.
  • Others know exactly what to do but are limited by their vision, mobility, or manual dexterity.
  • Cleanliness is extremely important to avoid UTI’s and infections.
  • There have been many articles written and discussion regarding catheters being more of a “convenience” than a necessity rather than regular toileting and undergarments. A clients MD should provide a proper justification for the use of a catheter.
  • Dementia can be an even greater if not impossible challenge.
  • Good personal care can become inconsistent making the person more vulnerable to infection.
  • Loss of understanding of what the catheter is for, confusion, anxiety, fear, and anger can cause the person to pull it out resulting in injury and infection.


Colostomy Care

  • Colostomy care can have similar challenges for the elderly. Vision, mobility, and manual dexterity can make changing the bag or the appliance difficult.
  • Bags can break causing the embarrassment of the person becoming soiled as well as their clothing and surroundings.
  • Often times a family member or caregiver can assist with the process.
  • An additional challenge with colostomy care can be managing an unpleasant odor.

As we discussed in a previous podcast, losing the sense of smell is common among the elderly.

  • The individual may not smell the odor that is offensive to everyone around them. They may deny that there is an issue and get angry with anyone who mentions it.
  • Families feel limited about including the person in social events or even being in public running errands.
  • Dementia makes colostomy care more challenging.
  • Similar issues to catheter care.

As the challenges increase families face the decisions of their loved one needing more care. This can mean private home care or move to a facility. Though difficult to think about, this is something that should be discussed well in advance with the support of the person’s healthcare team.