The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Catheters

elderly couple on a cliff walkUrinary incontinence is a common condition experienced by men, women, and children of all ages. Catheter usage will change the normal routine of your day-to-day activities, so it is important to be prepared for the lifestyle changes. Knowing what to expect with the self-catheterization process along with the right catheter supplies will give you confidence as a daily catheter user.

From the first phone call to your final package delivery and beyond, Patient Care Medical is dedicated to providing you with quality service you can rely on. We have helped thousands with their catheter supplies and everything in between, like working with your insurance, providing speedy shipping, and insuring discreet delivery with each order. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive to help you get started with the process of using catheters.

What are catheters? 

Urinary catheters are flexible tubes typically made from rubber, plastic, or silicone that collect urine from the bladder and drain it into a separate collection bag. Catheters are used when someone has difficulties emptying their bladder. Your doctor may recommend a catheter in the instance that you may have signs of urinary incontinence or urinary retention, or lose control over your bladder when you urinate. 

What are urinary catheters used for?

Patients use urinary catheters to help drain their bladder when it cannot fully empty by itself. They are used to treat urinary incontinence and retention, neurogenic bladder, as well as other medical conditions.

What is urinary incontinence? 

Urinary incontinence is the overall loss of bladder control ranging from a small loss of urine to total loss of function in controlling urination. It is very common as millions of Americans suffer from symptoms of urinary incontinence or about 1 in every 4 men and 1 in every 2 women. Learn more about the causes of urinary incontinence and the treatment options available.

What is self-catheterization? 

Self-catheterization is the process of draining urine with the use of a catheter. Self-catheterization is used with the presence of both urinary retention and urinary incontinence, as well as certain health problems and surgeries.

How much do catheter supplies cost? 

The cost of your catheter supplies depends on your insurance plan. We are happy to work directly with your insurance provider to handle all billing-related procedures. If you have any questions regarding your current coverage, feel free to reach out to us so that we can help you!

What catheter products and services do you supply? 

Patient Care Medical provides a wide range of intermittent catheters from a variety of brands, including: 

I’m not sure which catheter is best for me. Can Patient Care Medical help? 

The catheter experts at Patient Care Medical are happy to work with you to find the best catheter to fit your needs and preferences. Give us a call to speak with a specialist about your options!

How can I get free catheter samples? 

We are always happy to provide you with samples. Simply reach out to us through our contact form. We will need information regarding your insurance plan, contact information, and a prescription from your doctor.

What types of catheter supplies do you offer? 

At Patient Care Medical, we provide a wide selection of straight and coude tip catheters in male, female, and pediatric lengths in the majority of French sizes and different materials (red rubber, silicone, latex free.) 

Learning about the different catheter products Patient Care Medical supplies will be able to help you find the right catheter supplies to meet your individual needs and lifestyle. The 2 main types of intermittent catheters to choose from including the following: 

Hydrophilic: Hydrophilic catheters are the best choice for individuals who experience discomfort during the self-catheterization process. The catheter has a special coating that is water activated, acting like a lubricant sticking to the surface. When this special coating is activated, it stays slippery throughout the duration of the process allowing for overall easier insertion and removal that is virtually painless. 

Intermittent: Intermittent catheters are the standard, original technology with basic functionality. Referred to as “uncoated” catheters, they require the application of lubricant to reduce friction and discomfort with insertion and removal. These catheters are typically the most affordable and are the ideal choice for those who do not have insurance or are under-insured. 

Closed System: Closed system catheters have a variety of unique features, including a pre-lubricated catheter with an individual collection chamber. As an all-in-one system, they make a great option for individuals in wheelchairs or those who are on the go. Some of the benefits of a closed system are convenience, comfort, peace of mind, and reduced risk of developing urinary tract infections. This sterile system helps eliminate the risk of infection associated with the process of intermittent catheterization. 

What is a coudé catheter?

A coude catheter is an intermittent catheter with a curved insertion tip. These types of catheters can be used if traditional straight tip catheters are not comfortable to wear.

What is a closed system catheter?

A closed system catheter is a touch-free, all-in-one catheter system that can prevent urinary tract infections. It also features a collection bag and a flexible tip that makes the catheterization process more comfortable.

Is it possible to catheterize in a public restroom?

Yes, when you are on the go and unable to use your own bathroom, you can catheterize in a public restroom. Though you may not be used to this new space, it may be easier than you think! To reduce the risk of infection, patients can use closed system or hydrophilic catheters to ensure a no-touch catheterization experience. 

Can I bring catheters on an airplane?

Definitely. There are a lot of people who bring their catheters with them during travel. It can be beneficial to plan out how many catheters you expect to use, but you should also bring extra supplies just in case! We offer pocket-sized catheters that are light and perfect for travel.

Using a catheter is painful for me. Are there more comfortable catheters available?

There is no “one size fits all” treatment plan. Each patient has different needs and preferences, which is why we carry a wide range of catheter brands and types. Contact one of our catheter specialists to talk about other options and to receive some free samples. If you ever experience severe pain or bleeding during catheterization, contact your doctor immediately.

Do I need a prescription for catheters?

A prescription is required for catheters, and because your health is our #1 priority, we handle the entire process for you. We have a department solely dedicated to working with your doctor’s office to get the paperwork your insurance will require to cover your catheters. We communicate efficiently and respectfully with your urologist or primary care doctor to get your order to you as quickly as possible.

Where can I buy catheters near me? 

The easiest way to purchase catheters is with Patient Care Medical’s easy online ordering process. We can ship catheters to any address in the United States. It is simple and convenient as well as speedy and discreet. To learn more, call one our US-based representatives today!

Can I reuse catheters?

It is not recommended to reuse catheters. The process of washing and reusing catheters can increase the risk of UTIs. Because of this, it is more beneficial to use sterile, one-time-use catheters to prevent bacterial contamination.

What can I do to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

UTIs are very common and can be painful and uncomfortable. UTIs are caused by bacterial contamination of the urethra and can be prevented with appropriate, sterile (one-time) catheter use. We also offer catheters that are designed specifically for UTI prevention. Closed system catheters feature an introducer tip, which prevents bacteria from being pushed deeper inside the urethra. Hydrophilic catheters offer touch-free catheterization, which prevents any bacteria on your hands from coming into contact with the catheter.

How do I insert a catheter?

Our catheter experts are happy to help new patients with the self-catheterization process. Some general rules of thumb are to relax, use lubrication, and pay attention to any pain during insertion. It is important to not force your catheter if you experience any resistance.

What are catheters made of?

Catheters are typically made of red rubber latex, silicone, and vinyl. Different materials may be more comfortable, so it is important to take note of any material preferences you have for future orders.

When is an intermittent catheter recommended?

Intermittent catheters are used when a patient cannot completely empty their bladder on their own. It is recommended when you or someone you know is able and willing to insert your catheter. Wearing an intermittent catheter eliminates the need to have a collection bag, which oftentimes helps patients feel more independent and confident. Talk to your doctor to see if intermittent catheters are right for you.

What size catheter should I use?

Your doctor can help you decide which French size works best for your body. Using the correct French size can make the self-catheterization process easier and much more comfortable. To learn more about French sizes and why the right fit is important, check out our Guide to Catheter French Sizes. 

What Patient Care Medical Offers Our Customers:

What catheter brands do you offer?

We carry many types and brands of catheters. It can be difficult to decide which catheters work best for you, so feel free to reach out to one of our catheter specialists to learn how you can get free samples. We carry major brands, such as BardColoplastCure, GentleCath, Hollister, and many more. Check out our product catalog to see which catheters are available.

Where do you ship catheter supplies to? 

We ship to all locations within the U.S. and Puerto Rico

How long does it take to get my catheters?

We would ideally have your order on your doorstep within 48 hours. We reach out to your doctor’s office within 2 hours of verifying that your insurance will cover your supplies. If your doctor is able to return our requested paperwork by the end of the day, you may very well receive your first order of supplies within 24 hours. Please keep in mind, however, that doctor offices vary in size and that your provider’s availability will determine how quickly they are able to return paperwork to us. We always encourage you to reach out to your doctor’s office as well if your order is especially urgent, as hearing from their patient can often expedite the paperwork process.

What do I do if my insurance doesn’t cover catheters?

Insurance coverage and benefits change from year to year, and even from month to month. There is a chance your coverage may have changed since you last checked regarding your eligibility for catheter supplies. Please allow us to give your insurance provider a quick call to get the most current status of your catheter coverage; you may even be pleasantly surprised to find out your supplies may be covered! If we are not currently able to work with your insurance, we’ll schedule appropriate follow-ups and notify you if there’s been any change in your policy’s coverage for catheters. We always will welcome you as our patient, whether now or in the future.

What if the catheter I am using no longer works for me?

We are always happy to send you samples of different catheters until you find the best one that works for you!

Once Patient Care Medical has my paperwork on file, does that cover my catheter supplies for life?

Most insurances require you to have an appointment with your doctor annually to go over your catheter usage. Our company makes sure to remind you 3 months before the expiration of your paperwork on file in order to avoid any delays in your orders.

How do I know when my next order of supplies will ship?

We will reach out to you up to 2 weeks before your next order to inform you as to when it is eligible to ship. We have options available for patients to be reached through phone calls, emails, and text messages, depending on your preference.

Can anyone sign a prescription/RX and/or addendum to chart notes?

Due to strict insurance guidelines, only the provider who has seen the patient can prescribe for them. Medicare does have an exception to this, however, as another provider can prescribe catheters for a patient if they have seen the patient within the past six months.

Why do insurance companies need justification for coude tip catheters?

Insurance will only reimburse for this type of catheter if a patient’s needs meet criteria such as BPH, prostate cancer, urethral strictures, etc.

Why does Patient Care Medical request Addendums to Chart Notes?

Criteria and qualifications on patient prescriptions and chart notes need to match. Medicare, for example, is very strict about their requirements for specific verbiage regarding the type of catheter, frequency of usage, and the diagnoses included in the Chart Notes.

How do I know what catheter is best for me? There are so many brands to choose from.

Our Team here at Patient Care Medical is dedicated to helping you find the healthiest and best choice catered to your unique situation and circumstances.

I have insurance. Why am I getting a bill for my catheter supplies?

We are required to bill you for any unpaid co-insurance and/or deductible for your order of supplies. Fortunately, we have a financial hardship form you may complete in order to see if you qualify to receive your supplies at no cost.

How do I find out if my catheter items are covered by my insurance?

Our in-house insurance specialists will contact your insurance provider to verify the catheter benefits on your policy.

Why did my insurance company send me a check after I ordered catheter supplies?

In some instances, our claims to insurance providers are processed with us as an out of network provider. Certain insurance policies will pay you directly due to our out of network status instead of providing the reimbursement to us. In these circumstances, we will conveniently send you a pre-paid envelope for you to forward the payment for the cost of your supplies to us.

How does catheter reordering work?

If your insurance plan requires regular check-ins, we will contact you monthly to assess the amount of supplies you have. Depending on your current stock, we will ship you accordingly. This ensures that you never run out of your supplies or have too many supplies at a given time. If your insurance plan does not require these check-ins, you have the option to set your shipments on a recurring basis, depending on your needs.




Quick and Easy

  • New Technology and Pain-Free
  • Covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances
  • Top Brands like Bard, Cure and Coloplast
  • Free Sample Supplies
  • No Obligation, No Order Required, Risk-Free
  • Closed System Catheters
  • Self Lubricating Catheters
  • Pocket Catheters
  • Male, Female, & Pediatric Catheters

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