How to Care for a Foley Catheter
A Foley catheter is a soft tube that remains in the bladder to constantly drain urine.
The Foley catheter is connected to a drainage system, or urine bag.
Keeping a Foley Catheter Clean
It is very important to take good care of the Foley catheter, tubing and drainage bag.
- Keep the catheter, the tubing and the drainage bag clean.
- Do not let the bag drag on the floor.
Cleaning the Catheter
- Clean the catheter and the skin where it enters the body twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.
- Wash your hands first.
- Use a warm, wet, soapy wash cloth and clean the catheter and the skin around it.
- Take care not to pull on the catheter.
- Hold the catheter in one hand and clean with the other hand to help prevent pulling on the catheter.
- If there is any dried drainage that does not come off with soap and water, you can use hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball or gauze pad. Wipe gently on the catheter. Avoid getting the hydrogen peroxide on the skin.
- Rinse the catheter and skin with plain water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Bathing Your Child
- Give your child a sponge bath.
- Tub baths, showers and swimming are not allowed due to risk of infection.
Damage to the Catheter or Bag
- Check the catheter and the bag for any cuts or tears.
- If there are any leaks or there is damage to the catheter or the bag, you will need to change the catheter or the bag.
- An opening anywhere in the catheter or the bag will allow bacteria (germs) to enter. If these would reach your child’s bladder, a urinary tract infection could result.
- Do not put the drainage bag in a plastic bag if it leaks. You should change the bag immediately.
Taking Care of the Drainage Bag
- There are two types of bags, a leg bag and a larger drainage bag, both connect to the catheter.
- The leg bag is smaller and strapped to the leg, allowing more freedom of movement.
- If the leg bag is worn, empty it at least every two to three hours, or when it becomes 2/3 full.
- If the larger urine drainage bag is used, empty it at least every eight hours, even if it is not full.
How to Empty the Bag
- Protect the end of the drain spout.
- Avoid touching the end of the spout to the container that is being used.
- Also, do not touch the spout with your hands.
- This helps prevent germs from getting into the bag, which in turn could lead to an infection.
How to Change the Drainage Bag
- Wash your hands.
- Clean the area around where the tubing connects to the catheter with alcohol or Betadine.
- Fold the catheter over on itself to prevent urine leakage from the catheter when you disconnect the bag from the catheter.
- Pull the bag tubing out from the catheter.
- Take care to not touch the end of the new tubing.
- Connect the new bag tubing to the catheter.
- Cover the end of the removed tubing with sterile gauze or a cap to keep it clean or discard if the bag is damaged.
Call Your Child's Doctor If:
- The urine changes color, smells foul, becomes bloody, or the amount of urine output decreases or the flow of urine stops
- There is urine leakage around the catheter or tubing
- Your child has pain in the back, sides or belly; fever or vomiting
- You don’t have the supplies to care for the Foley catheter or drainage bag
- Keep the drainage system below the level of the bladder so the urine does not back up into the bladder.
- Keep the tubing below the bladder and above the drainage bag.
- Be sure there are no kinks or bends in the tubing. Urine will not drain if this happens.
- Secure the catheter in place on your child’s leg.
- Make sure there is enough slack so that the catheter does not get pulled with movement.
- A catheter securement product works well (for example, Flexi-Track or universal tubing securement device). Secure the catheter at the bifurcation or Y.
- Change the drainage bag if it becomes dirty, foul smelling or damaged.
- Remember to drink lots of fluids as this can help to reduce the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. The urine should be light yellow and clear.