To understand the nature and goals of our project, it is necessary to describe the current clinical issues relating to urinary catheter-care. First, it is a problem of scale: At any one time, an estimated 900 million humans on the planet have a urinary catheter in-situ – it is the most widely used medical appliance on Earth. Second, there are many different catheter-associated problems encountered in clinical practice, and third, they can cause considerable morbidity.
The longer a catheter is in place, the greater are all problems. For example, one study of patients who had been catheterised for more than two-years, reported that more than three-quarters of those patients required some kind of professional intervention (or help), at-the-very least, at least once, over an eight-month period; for some patients, this amounted to more than ten call-outs in that eight month time-frame. Finally, there are complexities regarding catheter-associated-sepsis and antibiotic resistance. The first three problems will be described in brief, and the latter, will receive further deliberation as a distinct – albeit integrally related, catheter specific issue.