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Phone: 0191 333 3584
What is a Catheter?
A urinary catheter is a flexible tube used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag. These are usually inserted by a doctor or a nurse and can be inserted through either the urethra or stomach. The catheter remains in the bladder to allow urine to flow through it and into a drainage bag.
Types of Urinary Catheters
These catheters are inserted several times a day to drain the bladder and then removed once empty.
An indwelling catheter is left in place and held in with a water filled balloon to prevent it falling out. This catheter is connected to a drainage bag.
This catheter is inserted through a hole in the stomach and goes directly into the bladder. This catheter is held in place with a water filled balloon to prevent it falling out and is connected to a drainage bag.
Penile Sheath Catheter
This is an external catheter which is applied over the penis. It is made from soft, flexible latex or silicone and they attach to a drainage bag.
When undertaking catheter care, please practice good hand hygiene. If staff are supporting, they must wear gloves.
Catheter sites must be cleaned daily with soap and water. During this process, vaginas should be cleaned from front to back and foreskins should be retracted.
Suprapubic catheter sites should also be cleaned daily.
Emptying of bags
Empty drainage bag when 2/3 full. Staff can support with consent.
You will need:
- alcohol wipes
- disposable container
- paper towel (to cover container).
- Wash hands and apply gloves if you would prefer.
- Open valve and allow urine to drain into container.
- Close the valve and clean with alcohol wipe.
- Record the amount of urine, if required.
- Dispose of urine and the cover in sluice or toilet.
- Wash hands when finished.
Changing of Catheter bags
Leg bags should be changed every 7 days. Always replace a removed leg bag with a clean sterile one. Never reattach a used bag.
Night bags should be attached to the leg bag on an evening and then detached in the mornings and disposed of. Night bags are a once only use and a new one is needed each night.
Catheter bags can be secure in place by using fixation devices such as G-strap, leg bag straps, statlock stickers, or sleeves.
Hydration and Output
Hydration is very important as it can prevent:
- Urinary tract infections
- Sediment form developing
If a person needs their fluid balance monitoring, the amount of urine emptied from the bags should be measured and documented.
Things to look out for
When urine cannot drain through the tube and leaks around the entry site.
Reasons for this may include:
- Kinks or a blockage in the tube
- Positioning of drainage system (should be below bladder)
- Size of catheter
- Bladder spasms
- Allergy to catheter
When no urine is draining into the bag. Reasons for this can include:
- Kinks in the tube
- Positioning of drainage system (should be below the bladder)
- Size of catheter
- Encrustation/sediment in urine.
People can pull on the catheter causing trauma which could lead to removal. This can happen accidentally when the tube gets caught when moving. You could sustain trauma when the tube is actively pulled out.
Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)
Following 1 month of having a catheter, nearly all people will have the presence of bacteria in the urine. This does not always cause a problem and is very normal.
Sometimes it can cause someone to become unwell with an infection which would need treatment. Signs of infection can include:
- Possible pain or burning sensations
- Change in colour of urine
- High or low temperature
- Feeling generally unwell
- Lower abdominal and/or back pain
Please escalate all concerns to a healthcare professional.
L1178, v1, 14/12/2022 (archive 13/12/2025)