4 Tips for Sticking to Your Self-Catheterization Schedule

Consistently staying on your self-catheterization schedule will help you avoid accidents and other issues. Explore some practical tips that may help you stick to your prescribed routine.

Learn how to adhere to your self-catheterization schedule.

If you’ve recently started using an intermittent catheter due to a spinal cord injury or other medical condition, your healthcare team likely guided you through the steps of the self-catheterization process. They also probably talked about a key aspect of self-catheterization: the importance of keeping to a schedule. If you understand your recommended catheterization routine and are motivated to stick to it, you will be less likely to experience accidents or issues.

However, with everything you need to remember about all of the essential routines you may have – taking medications, doing physical therapy, attending healthcare appointments — it can be a challenge to stay on a self-catheterization schedule, even if you perform the procedure just a few times a day.

4 tips for adhering to your self-catheterization schedule

Following any kind of daily routine takes self-discipline and patience. Self-catheterizing every day according to your prescribed schedule is no different. Below are four simple tips that may help you remember to self-catheterize according to the frequency recommended by your healthcare team:

  1. Create a link to something that you already do. Are there some activities that you already do at regular times during the day, like brushing your teeth or eating meals? Try self-catheterizing around the same time.
  2. Use an alarm or a voice-activated gadget to remind you. Whether you use a low-tech kitchen timer, or a high-tech smartphone or digital assistant, there are many ways to remind yourself to self-catheterize. Newer technologies have recurring alarms and reminders settings, so you only have to set them up once to get prompted every day at the same times.
  3. Designate a “schedule champion.” Everybody needs a little help now and then. Recruit someone dependable — a family member, close friend, or caregiver — whom you can trust to gently remind you when it’s time to self-catheterize.
  4. Get organized with a “catheter station.” Your daily routine may be easier to stick to if you can self-catheterize in a comfortable place with all of your supplies handy. If possible, create a dedicated space in your bathroom where you can perform the procedure and store your supplies (be sure to follow any product storage instructions).

Ask your healthcare team for additional help, if needed

After following these tips, if you still find yourself missing your scheduled self-catheterizations or think your prescribed schedule needs modification, be sure to consult with your healthcare team. They can provide additional guidance and tweak your self-catheterization program as necessary to meet your needs and help you avoid any issues.