Foley catheter care? Does the idea itself overwhelm you? It shouldn't.
Managing your catheter at home does not need to be overwhelming. You can do it. It just takes a little time and a steady routine to make sure you are following all steps .... every day ... to decrease the risks of the associated complications.
Let me say it again. Every day. Every time. Without fail. If you follow these guidelines, you will decrease your chances of complications.
Daily Tips for Foley Catheter Care
- Wash your hands with soap and hot water prior every time before completing care. You may use clean gloves if you would like, but you still need to wash your hands before and after.
- Always make sure the collection bag is below the level of the bladder to prevent urine from the bag back flowing back up into the bladder ... along with all the bacteria that is with it.
- Make sure your loved one drinks plenty of hydrating fluids. Alcohol, caffeinated and carbonated beverages are not great hydrating fluids, so stick with water and juice if possible.
- Keep the groin area clean and dry. Cotton underwear helps with this.
- With all position changes of your loved one, make sure the tubing hasn't kinked or twisted. If it does, it will stop the flow of urine into the bag and can cause damage to the bladder and kidneys.
- Keep the skin and the catheter clean.
- There are leg straps that are velcro that can wrap around the tubing to prevent pulling and tugging on the catheter. This will not only increase comfort but also prevent damage to the urethra and bladder.
Cleaning the catheter and skin
Foley catheter care does not need to be difficult. The most important thing to remember is to first wash your hands .... and then always clean from areas of clean to areas of dirty.
Here are a few tips to help achieve that. Always gather all your supplies first and make sure you have everything you need. Then follow the steps below.
- Wash your hands. Yes, it's already been said but it is one of the most important things you can do to fight against infections.
- Clean the skin around the catheter. You may also find it easier to use a No-Rinse Periwash like Peri-Wash Incontinent Cleanser and Deodorizer. The entrance where the catheter enters the body is called the urinary meatus. Clean the skin with a soapy washcloth, washing in circles from the meatus outward. Rinse and pat dry.
- Clean the catheter tubing from the meatus to the connection to the tubing for the drainage bag. Start with a soapy washcloth and go from the meatus down the tubing. Never rub up and down. You will only be moving bacteria around. Rinse and pat dry.
- Always wash the area around the anus last.
- Dispose of the water and put the washcloths in the laundry.
- Perform this catheter care daily and following each and every bowel movement.
Emptying the Collection Bag
Try to empty the urine collection bag, whether it is a leg bag or a regular drainage bag, when it is no more than three quarters full. This is an important step in foley catheter care that can help prevent complications.
The steps are easy to follow and will become quite routine.
- Assemble your supplies and wash your hands.
- On the bag itself is a tube to drain the urine. Remove it from the protective area and wash the tip with an alcohol swab.
- Place the tube over a graduated cylinder, available at your local pharmacy or online store. You can also use any container to catch the urine; just make sure the tube doesn't touch the container itself.
- Release the clamp and allow the urine to flow out.
- Reclamp, clean with alcohol, and replace the tubing into the protective area.
- Dispose of the urine into a toilet. Look at the urine. Is it clear? Cloudy? Can you see blood in it? If so, contact your doctor.
- Clean up your supplies and wash you hands.
Changing the Collection Bag
Foley catheter care includes changing the collection bag. Urine drainage systems are designed to be a closed system, decreasing the risk of bacteria entering the bladder.
To change the drainage bag, you must open the system. So be especially careful during this procedure.
Follow the steps below to change out the collection bag. I would personally recommend a minimum of at least weekly, but check with you doctor to determine a schedule right for you. If your insurance doesn't cover replacement bags, you can order them independently. One type of replacement bag at a reasonable price is the Standard Drainage Bag.
- Assemble supplies and wash your hands.
- Get the new bag ready to attach. Do not remove the covering from the tip until you are ready to attach it to the catheter.
- Disconnect the old bag by holding the catheter tube that enters the body in one hand, and twisting the old bag off with your other hand. Do not twist the catheter end of the connection as that can pull on the tubing and may injure the bladder.
- Clean around the outside of the catheter end with an alcohol swab. Do not let it come into contact with anything else.
- Removed the protective cap from the new bag's tubing and insert it into the catheter tube.
- Make sure the tubing is stabilized with a leg strap and that there are no kinks or twists in the tubing.
- Dispose of supplies and wash your hands.
Call Your Doctor If ....
- You notice blood specs in the urine
- The urine is cloudy with clumps in it.
- The urine smells "bad"
- The urine is dark colored (concentrated)
- Your loved one has a temperature, fever or chills
- You notice a changed in your loved one's behavior or level of consciousness.
- There is no urine being produced, or if the amount has decreased significantly.
- There is abdominal, groin or low back pain.
- In addition, follow any other guidelines your doctor tells you.
You CAN safely and effectively manage foley catheter care at home. Follow these guidelines in conjunction with your health care provider's instructions.
Do not be afraid to contact your doctor if you are uncomfortable or if you experience any of the conditions above.
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