Urinary Catheter Care - Dos & Don'ts

A urinary catheter is a flexible plastic tube that drains urine from the bladder when a person is unable to urinate on their own. The catheter enables the urine to drain from the bladder into a bag. People who suffer from incontinence are usually recommended catheters as a viable solution. The Foley catheter is held intact by a small balloon, which is filled with water. The balloon is inflated in the bladder in order to prevent the catheter from falling as one goes about their day-to-day activities. The urine automatically drains from the bladder into the bag that is secured to the catheter. It is possible that germs getting on the catheter give rise to an infection in the kidneys or bladder. Therefore, good hygiene and careful handling can go a long way in keeping you safe from infections. Hence one should be familiar with these practices. Let’s go through some crucial know-how that can keep the infections & complications at bay:
  1. Seal well for a Closed Drainage System 
Maintaining a closed drainage system is imperative in order to reduce the bacteria that can enter the catheter and result in an infection. To do so, do not remove the catheter until and unless instructed by their doctor. If one needs to handle the catheter, they should make sure they first wash their hands with soap and water. Additionally, the catheter should be handled with great care so that the connection between the catheter and the tubing does not break. However, if a disconnection happens, clean both ends of a catheter well with alcohol and connect immediately. The consulting physician should be reached out to immediately post connecting the catheter.
  1. Introduce a Foley stabilization device 
Foley catheters might face unintended pulling forces that can cause extreme discomfort to the wearer. With a Foley stabilization device, catheter movement is minimized along with accidental dislodgement.
  1. Maintain a Steady Urine Flow
Make sure the drainage bag is below the level of the lower abdomen in order to keep the urine flowing freely as per gravity. Check for any kinks or loops in the tubing that can affect the urine flow. Additionally, make it a point to empty the drainage bag every 4-8 hours or before it fills up. While doing, keep care such that the drain tube does not come in contact with the container the urine is draining into.
  1. Practice Good Hygiene
Washing hands thoroughly with soap & water is mandatory before or touching any part of the catheter system. Regular cleaning around the catheter with soap & water after every bowel movement also lowers the risk of infection.