Frequently Asked Questions About Catheters

Frequently Asked Questions About Catheters

At Patient Care Medical, we’re dedicated to providing you with quality service from the very first phone call. We’re also here to answer all your frequently asked questions about catheters, our services, and more.

How can I get free catheter samples?

We are always happy to provide you with free catheter samples. Simply use our online contact form or call us at 888-726-5066. We will need some basic information about your insurance plan, contact information, and a prescription from your doctor.

What are intermittent catheters?

Intermittent catheters are flexible tubes that are inserted into the bladder via the urethra or a stoma to drain the bladder. This catheter type is left inside the bladder like a Foley or indwelling catheter. Instead, an intermittent catheter is inserted at intervals throughout the day to drain urine. This may be once per day, several times per day, or more, depending on a person’s individual prescription and needs.

What is self-catheterization?

Self-catheterization is the process of draining urine using a catheter independently (on one’s own without the help of a caregiver or healthcare professional).

Are catheters only available by prescription?

Yes, intermittent catheters are prescription-only medical devices that are only available to people with a documented medical necessity.

Why do people use intermittent catheters?

Doctors prescribe catheters when the bladder is not functioning normally. Some common conditions that may lead to the need to use catheters may include urinary bladder retention, neurogenic bladder, urinary incontinence, enlarged prostate, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, etc.

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 services and products does Patient Care Medical offer?

Patient Care Medical provides a wide range of intermittent urinary catheters from a variety of brands, including Hollister, GentleCath™, Cure™, Coloplast,Bard / BD™, and more.

Check out our product catalog to see which catheters are available. You can find a catheter that fits your prescribed needs from our variety of French sizes, lengths (including male, female, and pediatric length catheters), and materials (red rubber catheters, silicone catheters, vinyl/plastic catheters, and more).

Depending on your insurance coverage and prescription, you can choose from catheter types like:

  • Pre-lubricated catheters
  • Uncoated straight catheters
  • Coudé tip catheters
  • Pediatric catheters for children
  • Closed system catheters
  • Hydrophilic catheters
  • And more!

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

Absolutely! 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!

Is it possible to use catheters in a public restroom?

Yes, when you are on the go, you can typically catheterize safely in a public restroom. You just need a basic understanding of how to catheterize hygienically. In fact, it may be easier than you think! To reduce the risk of infection, patients can use touch-free catheters, such as closed system catheters, pre-lubricated catheters, or hydrophilic catheters to ensure a no-touch catheterization experience.

Can I bring catheters on an airplane?

Yes. 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 during the extent of your trip away from home. It’s also a great idea to bring extras, just in case. Curious about discreet catheters for travel? We offer pocket-sized catheters that are light and perfect for toting during your trip. Reach out to us online or call us at 888-726-5066 to request free samples and get started!

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

Using a catheter may be uncomfortable at first as your body gets used to the process. However, it should never cause serious pain or bleeding. If you’re experiencing pain, bleeding, or signs of infection, please contact your prescribing doctor immediately. If using a catheter is still uncomfortable or painful, there are options. Because every person is a unique individual with different needs and preferences, we carry a wide range of catheter supplies of different types, sizes, brands, materials, and options. Contact one of our catheter specialists to discuss your options.

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 specialized team that can work with your doctor’s office to get any paperwork that your insurance may require, including prescription or supporting documentation. We’ll work quickly and do all we can to get your catheter order to you as quickly as possible.

Where can I buy catheters near me?

The easiest way to purchase catheters is through Patient Care Medical’s easy online ordering process. We can ship catheters to any address in the United States. It is simple, convenient, speedy, and discreet. Our specialists are ready to help you!

Can I reuse catheters?

The FDA does not recommend the reuse of catheters because they are inserted inside the body and can harbor bacteria and pathogens even after cleaning. Washing and reusing catheters may increase the risk of infection. On your catheter package, you will see a symbol of a 2 with a line through it. This means it is designed to be used only once and then disposed of.

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

UTIs are typically caused by bacterial contamination of the urethra and/or bladder. You may be able to help reduce the risk of UTIs by practicing sterile (one-time) catheter use. In other words, don’t reuse your catheters. We also offer catheters that are designed specifically to help reduce the risk of UTIs. For example, closed system catheters are sterile and feature their own sterile collection bag, and the catheter features an introducer tip to help prevent bacteria from being pushed deeper inside the urethra. Hydrophilic and pre-lubricated catheters offer touch-free catheterization, which may help keep 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 not to force your catheter if you experience resistance. We also offer step-by-step instructional material. Contact us to get started!

What size catheter should I use?

Your prescribing healthcare professional is the only one who helps you decide which French size works best for your body. Using the correct French size may make the catheterization process easier and more comfortable. Check out our Guide to Catheter French Sizes to learn more about French sizes and why the right fit is important.

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 might be surprised to find out your supplies may be covered! However, if your insurance does not cover catheters, we’ll gladly assist in connecting you with a reputable supplier that can accept credit cards as payment rather than insurance.

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 insurance plans will require you to have an appointment with your doctor annually to go over your catheter usage and update your prescription. We have a specialized team that follows up annually months before your paperwork expires so we can avoid any delays in your future orders.

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

We offer easy reordering options. Typically, your order can be set up to recur every month or every 90 days (depending on your insurance coverage and preference). Some insurance plans require your confirmation to ship your order, so in those cases, we can reach out to you typically around 7 to 10 days before your order is scheduled to go out. Depending on your preference, we can touch base by phone, email, and/or text message.

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

Due to strict insurance guidelines, only the healthcare 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 did my insurance company send me a check after I ordered catheter supplies?

Certain insurance policies may pay you directly instead of providing the reimbursement to us. In these circumstances, we can conveniently send you a pre-paid envelope for you to forward the payment for the cost of your supplies to us.


Featured Catheter Brands at Patient Care Medical


  • Free catheter samples
  • Free shipping to your door
  • In-network with Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans
  • Wide variety of catheter types from popular brands
  • Friendly, knowledgeable service

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