Objective: The aim of this study was to register the use of long-term indwelling catheters in nursing homes in a defined geographical region, and present the indications for and duration of catheterization, catheter material and size, the time between the regular catheter changes and the number of patients with regular catheter rinses.
Material and methods: On 16 February 2009, the 78 nursing homes in a county in western Sweden with 260 000 inhabitants reported the required information to the study centre.
Results: Of the 2625 nursing home patients (1781 women and 844 men), 50 (3%) of the women (mean age 88 years) and 135 (16%) of the men (mean age 85 years) had indwelling catheters. Urine retention and high residual urine were the most common indications (79%). Incontinence (6%) was rarely the reason. The men had been catheterized much longer (mean ± SD 32 ± 29 months) than the women (20 ± 19 months). Regular bladder catheter rinses were used in 51 patients (28%).
Conclusion: Seven per cent of nursing home patients in the region had an indwelling catheter, the men five times more often than the women. The main indication for both genders was insufficient bladder emptying, and rarely incontinence. The men had been catheterized for much longer periods than the women and more often arrived at the nursing home with a long-term indwelling catheter.