Urine specimens

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Chemotherapy requires frequent urine specimens. One way to help obtain a sample is to encourage lots of drinking the hour before or ask the nurse to increase the drip rate on the IV Explain to the child why the test is necessary. Ask the nurse to show how the dip sticks work. (They change color, so they are quite popular with the preschoolers.) Use a "hat" under the toilet seat. This is a shallow plastic bucket that fits under the seat and catches the urine.

Turn on the water while the child sits on the toilet. I don't know why it works, but it does.

As all parents learn, eating and elimination are areas that the child controls. If she just can't or won't urinate in the hat, go out, buy her the largest drink you can find, and wait.

If infection is suspected, then a clean catch specimen for culture will be ordered. Your childs perineal area will need to be gently cleansed with soap or an antiseptic towelette, and she will need to urinate in a small sterile container. Urinary tract infections are much more common in girls than boys, because the female urethra is much shorter.

Occasionally, your physician will order a urinary catheterization if a clean specimen can't be obtained or your child is unable to urinate. This procedure can be quite stressful because it involves placing a sterile rubber tube up the urethra and into the bladder. It is quite appropriate to ask for a mild sedative or muscle relaxant before the procedure if your child is anxious. It is also perfectly acceptable to request that the most skilled person available perform the procedure. In skilled nursing hands, the procedure takes less than five minutes to perform.

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