Essential Tips to Take Care of Your Foley Catheter

From handling the catheter with clean hands to not pulling the catheter once it is comfortably placed, there are quite a few tips discussed on how to take care of this urinary equipment.
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Did You Know?
As the urine collection bag is made from plastic, never use hot water to wash the bag. Also, one should use a mild liquid detergent when washing the bag.
When a person is unable to urinate on his own due to various medical reasons, the doctor may recommend a Foley catheter―a flexible tube that is passed through the urethra until it reaches the bladder. Once it enters the bladder, a balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated so that it does not slip off the bladder. The urine from the bladder then moves through the tube and finally flows into the collection bag.

Wearing the Foley catheter isn't an issue provided you know how to take care of this urinary equipment. Apart from the dos and don'ts recommended by your doctor, here are some tips for your daily home care of Foley catheter.

No Sexual Intercourse

Well, this is not the time to spice up your bedding sessions. Sex can be extremely uncomfortable for people with a Foley catheter, and hence, should be avoided. No wonder, it is rightly said that catheterization can negatively affect a person's sexual life.

Don't Fiddle

Once the catheter is placed properly, one should not fiddle with the tube as it may get dislodged and cause inconvenience. Ensure that the catheter is fitted properly and does not easily dislodge from its position.

Check for Signs of Inflammation

Wearing the urinary catheter can be painful. Initially, catheter placement is uncomfortable and may hurt when urinating. However, usually the pain subsides over time. But in case the discomfort aggravates, it may signal an infection in the urinary tract. In case, major part of the skin around the catheter is red, swollen, or has blisters, immediately contact your health care provider. Having a fever, burning sensation while urinating, fluid leakage, or too much bleeding from the area of insertion, also demands immediate medical attention.

Maintain Proper Hygiene

Catheter placement does not mean ignoring the area around the insertion. So, gently rinse the area with water and soap at least two times a day. Despite catheter insertion, in most cases, your doctor may permit you to have a shower. However, do not detach the urine collection bag from the catheter during a shower, as it can increase the risk of an infection.

Do not Apply Powder

Use of talcum powder around the area of insertion of the catheter should be strictly avoided as it may raise the chances of an infection.

Handle with Clean Hands

If you are serious about lowering your risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), then it is very important that you wash your hands prior and post handling of the catheter. This is crucial to decrease the number of bacteria entering the urinary tract. Some prefer to use disposable sterile gloves whenever handling the Foley catheter.

Taking Care of the Urine Collection Bag

Changing the Drainage Bag

During the day, after taking a bath, you need to wear the leg bag, and at night, prior retiring to bed, replace the leg bag with the night bag.

Caring for the Leg Bag

The leg bag should always be placed below the knee. Use the straps to attach the bag firmly to your leg. The Velcro straps prevent the bag from falling off. Also, whenever you have put on the leg bag, avoid lying down for more than 2 hours. For emptying the urine collection leg bag, never wait till it is full. It is advised to drain the bag after every 2 to 4 hours.

Caring for Night Bag

Also referred to as the bedside bag, the night bag should be rinsed every morning, whereas the leg bag is to be cleaned every night. It is important that the night bag is placed below the bladder at all times so that the urine flows in a downward direction, and ensure that the bag does not lie on the floor.

Follow a Healthy Diet

Catheterized patients should ensure that they drink adequate water so as to prevent decrease in urine output. Insufficient water intake can lead to urinary encrustation, meaning the catheter may get accumulated by urine salts and other debris present in urine, leading to its blockage. To avoid such complications, it is important to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water.

Apart from adequate water intake, one should eat foods high in fiber to prevent constipation, and ensure healthy bowel movement. Constipation that leaves the patient straining during bowel movement, can put excessive pressure on the urinary bladder and impede urine flow.
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Published: April 5, 2014
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