Urinary Catheters and Going Back to Work

Catheterization at the office can become as normal of a part of your routine as checking your email. Read our tips for using a catheter at work.

Even if you love your job, you might not love having to do it and manage your catheterization needs. But that doesn’t have to be the case. With the right routine in place, using a catheter can is just a normal part of a day at the office.

OFFICE SUPPLIES

You can take some of the stress out of the equation by making sure you have everything you need on hand. Each day you’ll want to bring along a kit that includes the following: 

  • Catheters (always pack extra)
  • Hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes and towelettes
  • Disposable gloves
  • Plastic bags to use for accessories, trash, or wet clothes
  • Paper towels and/or tissues
  • Any additional supplies you prefer—a handheld mirror; an absorbent liner, etc.

In addition to the supplies you bring with you in your kit, you can leave some additional supplies at your desk or in your car for back up. A little bit of extras means you never have to run home if you didn’t repack your bag well enough.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

In your kit (or car), you may want to include an extra set of clothes (or underwear). At the very least, a jacket or blazer to wrap around your waist can help disguise a leak. Dark, more forgiving colors can also help as you get back into the routine.

While you are getting used to your new schedule, you can also wear a pad or absorbent liner for extra protection. 

MANAGE YOUR CALENDAR

Skipping normal cath sessions can result in leaks and cause long-term harmful effects to your bladder. Create a schedule for your needs that fits in with your day-to-day, slotting it in between regular meetings or during your lunch or coffee breaks. As you get into the routine, it might be helpful to block off the time on your calendar so that you don’t end up with other obligations—and so that you receive a reminder and know you have set the time aside. 

As you get used to your catheter, you will learn your body’s schedule and can make adjustments as needed.

WATER COOLER

While you might have guzzled coffee to get through the day previously, it’s helpful to limit how much you consume now. Caffeine in particular drives up your need to urinate. Aim to drink 1.5 liters of fluids daily, unless your healthcare provider recommends otherwise. 

However, you might want to keep a glass of water on hand for other reasons. If you ever have a leak you might want to tip some on your lap as a cover. 

PRIVACY IF YOU WANT IT

How much you want to share about your restroom needs is your choice. You may find that it’s easier to tell your boss about your needs upfront, before any issues (like needing to dash out of a meeting) occur. If your condition interferes with your ability to do your job, it will be better to get your needs out in the open. You don’t have to share all the details—just explain that you’ll need additional time to go to the restroom or any specific accommodations. 

Trusted colleague

It can also be helpful to tell a trusted colleague, so someone understands your schedule and can help you navigate any issues that arise. You want to do what makes you more comfortable—not anything that makes your situation more awkward or difficult.

It’s important to note that the law in most cases requires that your employer make “reasonable adjustments” for you to return to your job. That could be more flexible hours or break schedules or use of specific facilities. If you have any issues receiving those accommodations, reach out to your company’s human resource department.

MEETINGS AND TRAVEL

While there are a lot of meeting that can be emails—unfortunately not all of them are. But a long meeting doesn’t have to be stressful. If you are leading the meeting, you can schedule and set aside time for short breaks. If you are a participant, catheterize before the meeting for maximum time and, if that’s not enough, suggest a break or excuse yourself as needed. If you job takes you on the road, you’ll already be familiar with how to make being away from home feasible.

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT CATH FOR YOU

Whatever adjustments you need to make at work, selecting the right catheter for you will make the process easier. There are a range of options on the market for you to choose from—from specifics sizes to slightly different models from brands like Apogee, Coloplast, Cure, and Bard. 

With Medipply, you have options to be sure you can find the right system for you. We work directly with suppliers to find the best product for you, covered by your insurance, taking into account your needs and preferences. We give you the right to choose and help you minimize out-of-pocket costs. Learn more here.