The Importance of Urinary Catheter Care

Written by krista sheehan
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The Importance of Urinary Catheter Care
Urinary System Model (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm)

A urinary catheter is a long rubber tube that is inserted into the body to drain urine from the bladder. One end of the tube is placed in the bladder, while the other drains into a collection bag. Proper urinary catheter care is extremely important to ensure an infection does not occur.

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Hand Care

Before doing any type of urinary catheter care, it is extremely important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Touching the catheter or the skin around the catheter with dirty hands could cause a serious infection at the insertion point.

Catheter Care

At least twice a day, use mild soap and water to gently clean around the catheter where it enters your body. You may shower with your catheter in place, but you should avoid water that is extremely hot or cold. While cleaning the catheter, be sure to check the skin around the area for any signs of irritation or infection.

Skin Care

To prevent urine from leaking onto the surrounding area, you may want to wrap a small amount of gauze around the catheter where it enters the body. You should also be sure to never pull on your catheter and to avoid sexual intercourse while the urinary catheter is in place; these actions could cause the catheter to become dislodged from its proper position.

Infection Control

While your urinary catheter is inserted, it is extremely important to keep the drainage bag at a level bellow the bladder. If the drainage bag is above the bladder, it may cause the urine to flow back into the bladder, which could cause a serious infection in the bladder.

Drainage Bag Care

It is a good idea to regularly change your drainage bag to allow the bag to be properly cleaned between uses. After disconnecting the bag from the urinary catheter, wash the bag with warm water and soap. Be sure to rinse all soap off the bag with warm water. Then, disinfect and deodorise the drainage bag with the following mixture: 1¼ cup of white vinegar and 2 quarts of warm water. Allow the solution to sit in the bag for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse the bag with warm water and hang upside down to air dry.

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