Living with a catheter requires adjustment for patients, but there has been a long-standing weak point in the way they have traditionally managed their care that has made maintaining their quality of life and dignity unnecessarily hard: strapping down leg bags.
Regardless of where patients wear a leg bag — on the thigh, the shin, or the upper knee — they typically keep the bag in place using straps. Unfortunately, the bags can move, which means the patients have to re-tighten the straps, which leads to other problems. The net result is that patients’ quality of life can grow diminished.
That’s the exact problem Brian Mohika, BSN, RN, saw while serving catheter patients as a healthcare professional, and the solution he came up with led him to found CathWear, which produces a new, Medicare-approved undergarment that makes it easy to manage and live with leg bags.
“I wanted to improve the patient’s quality of life when they are wearing a leg bag,” said Mohika, who is CathWear’s CEO. “While it was working in the operating room, I saw patient after patient arrive for their procedures, and the look on their face showed me how much of a burden wearing a leg bag had become.”
The burdens related to strapping leg bags are many, according to Mohika:
“The leg bag slides up and down the leg increasing complications that can be really bad for the patient,” he says. “The plastic to the skin creates sweat points, further irritating the skin.
“The patients tend to over tighten the straps in order to reduce the lakebed from sliding up and down the leg and this can break down skin integrity, causing rashes for the patients all, including reducing vascular flow of the leg, as well,” he adds.
Other problems Mohika saw included:
- Patients are not able to wear a skirt, a dress, or shorts during warm weather climates.
- At times, the contents of the bag would empty into the patient’s shoes when ambulating.
- The straps become unsanitary, further putting the patient at increased risk of infection.
- More commonly were the embarrassing moments of the leg bag being exposed.
Those problems can affect any patient wearing a leg bag. So, Mohika spent two years developing his solution: CathWear leg bag underwear. The special unisex undergarments include pouches that securely and discretely carry two 600 ml leg bags with no straps necessary.
Designed for patients using Nephrostomy, Suprapubic, Biliary, or Foley catheters, the underwear also features a special sewn-in “tract system” of channels and cutouts that properly and comfortably route the catheter tubes. The system also lets users easily drain bags without removing them.
After two years of development, Mohika’s solution has already caught on. Initially sold online, Mohika has enjoyed some solid success with users and healthcare professionals.
“We are number 1 on Amazon and number 1 on Google with a 4.2-star rating and a 5-star rating, respectively, going on two years,” he says. “CathWear Has almost 200 reviews on Amazon from doctors, nurses, caregivers, and most importantly the patients themselves.”
And, of course, Mohika has worked to spread the word to HME providers about CatheWear. He underscores that while it has been sold online, it is a billable item, and distributors are starting to carry his undergarments.
“CathWear is covered by Medicare Code A5105, so the doctors and practitioners can write a script,” he says. “CathWear has the ability to partner with either national distributors or their local distributors. We recently signed with Cardinal Health and Byram Healthcare, so anyone who buys from either of those distributors now can simply place an order through them.”