In a UK first, the Urology team at Royal Surrey has set up an innovative self-removal of catheter option for patients recovering from Robotic Assisted Radical Prostatectomy.
This means patients who are referred from across the South East to have their radical prostatectomy at the Trust do not need to return to hospital for the removal of their catheter seven days after their operation.
As well as saving patients’ time and clinic time, money on fuel and parking, and reducing footfall in the Urology Clinic, the option enhances patient dignity and privacy.
Since the project launched in April this year, a total of 92 patients who opted for this completed the removal safely and gave positive feedback about its ease and convenience
A small number of patients were not offered the choice because of the complex nature of their surgery or a lack of manual dexterity, and a few other patients decided that they would prefer to return to hospital for removal of the catheter by a nurse.
One patient who found the process easy and straightforward was 68-year-old Steve Adams. He said: “I’m OK with DIY and this to me was a DIY problem with a set of clear instructions and a helpful demonstration beforehand from my consultant and the nursing team.
“I thought, why do a trip into hospital to have the catheter taken out when I can do it myself in the privacy of my own home. It took just one minute in the shower to remove it and it was completely painless. It’s convenient and you’re in control of your own body, so it made a lot of sense.”
Urology Consultant Mr Wissam Abou Chedid, who launched the project as part of Prostate Cancer UK’s Clinical Championship Programme, said: “We have had very positive feedback from our patients and are pleased with the success of this project.
“Royal Surrey is one of the top three Trusts in the country in terms of the number of Robotic Assisted Radical Prostatectomies performed and the team is constantly thinking of ways to improve our patients’ care and experience.
“We were keen to come up with ideas about reducing waiting time for patients who had catheters in after their surgery and this is a simple but safe and effective solution. It not only saves clinic time, but during a period of rising fuel prices, it’s very helpful for patients.
“My father who is a Gynaecology Consultant, made the decision to remove the catheter himself at home after his prostatectomy in 2011. I always remembered that and I thought why not show our patients that they can do this, too. We started trialling the option and found that our patients had no problems with it.”
Mr Abou Chedid added: “As well as being a UK first, this project potentially has a huge impact for both primary and secondary care, as men don't have to return to hospital or their GP for the removal of a catheter after surgery such as a prostatectomy.
“The project can potentially be extended further. We are now working with Prostate Cancer UK to understand if this is an approach that could be delivered in other Trusts, thus making this option available for more men across the UK.”
Offering patients’ the option to remove their catheter at home also contributes to Royal Surrey’s aims to reduce its carbon footprint, in line with the aims of the NHS Green Plan. Patient travel contributes to around five per cent of the NHS’s carbon footprint.
Please note: you should only self-remove your catheter at home if you have been advised to do so by your medical team as part of this project. All other patients will need to return to hospital to have their catheter removed.
Photo caption. Pictured above from left to right, Maria Innes, Prostate Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dr Wissam Abou Chedid, Urology Consultant, and Helen Casson, Prostate Clinical Nurse Specialist.