Caring For Your Foley Catheter

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From time to time, patients with various conditions and diagnosis are unable to empty their bladders on their own.  This can be a physical problem with passing urine, or even a mobility problem.  Either way, a Foley catheter can be helpful in all kinds of situations.  A Foley catheter is a flexible tube with a small diameter that is placed inside the bladder for the purposes of draining urine.  If you will be at home with a Foley catheter it is important to learn proper at-home care practices.

Daily catheter care is important for your own health and safety.  Poor care practices can lead to bladder infections and other serious problems with the urinary tract.  Care can be performed while in the shower, but not in the bathtub while bathing.  Gather the following supplies before performing catheter care:

• Clean water
• A mild soap, like Dove soap
• A clean wash cloth or a 4×4 piece of gauze
• 1 Cath-Secure

First, wash your hands well with plain soap and water.  Then with the soap and clean water, clean your genital area. Clean where the catheter enters your body and down and away from your body. Be careful to hold the catheter where it enters the body when cleaning it, as not to put tension on it while cleaning it.  Rinse all areas thoroughly and pat dry.  Use the Cath-Secure to keep the catheter in place.

Always be sure to keep your leg bag or night bag below the level of your bladder to ensure proper drainage and to prevent infection.  Do not let your bag become overly full.  You should empty it about every 2 to 4 hours. You should not lie down for more than 2 hours at a time while wearing a leg bag.  If it will be longer than 2 hours, attach the night bag. Be sure your leg bag straps are not too tight, as this can cause pain, and even blood clots to form.  If the straps leave a mark on your leg, they are too tight.

Although caring for your Foley catheter may seem intimidating at first, it can become a normal part of your daily routine.  Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have questions or concerns about home catheter care or problems.

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