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Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: LIFE Center

Urinary Tract Infections

Reviewed July 2014
Author: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago - Nursing Practice Council
Urinary tract infections are a common complication for people with a disability who require catheterization (insertion of a tube to drain the bladder).

• Overfilled bladder
• High residual urine (amount of urine left in bladder)
• Poor cleaning before catheterization
• Poor hygiene

Signs and Symptoms
• Cloudy, bloody or smelly urine
• Sudden increase in residual urine
• Increase in spasms
• Pain or burning feeling during urination
• Fever and chills

• Drink at least two quarts of fluid daily, unless your doctor has instructed you on fluid restriction. Choose from a variety of fluids such as juice, milk, tea and water.
• Always wash hands thoroughly before and after touching the catheter.
• Wash the area between the legs at least twice a day, especially the area around the catheter.
• If using a drainage device, make sure the tubing is not bent or plugged so that the urine moves though freely.
• Empty the bladder regularly; try to keep volume at 400 ml or less, or according to instructions given by your doctor.
• If instructed, monitor residual urine to prevent infection.
• Call your doctor immediately if you have any problems.

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