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How to change urinary catheter bags

Updated June 13, 2017

The two types of catheter drainage bags are a leg bag and a bedside drainage bag. A leg bag is smaller and holds less urine than a bedside drainage bag. Both are used to collect urine from a urinary catheter. According to Greenwich Hospital, you should replace the drainage bag monthly or if there is evidence of a urinary tract infection.

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  1. Wash hands with soap and water, then dry well.

  2. Drain urine from the collection bag into a collection cup or the toilet. Wash hands with soap and water.

  3. Place a towel beneath the connection of the catheter tubing and the drainage bag tubing.

  4. Grasp the catheter tubing in one hand where it meets the drainage bag tubing. Grasp the drainage bag tubing in the other hand. Gently pull to disconnect the two tubes.

  5. Clean the ends of the catheter tubing and drainage bag tubing with separate alcohol gauze pads.

  6. Connect the tubing of the new drainage bag to the catheter tubing. Ensure the connection fits securely to prevent leaking.

  7. Clean the connection site with a new alcohol gauze pad.

  8. Attach the bedside drainage bag to the side of the bed frame. If using a leg bag, attach the bag to the leg by wrapping and securing the straps at the top and bottom of the bag to your leg. Straighten any kinking in the tubing.

  9. Wash your hands with soap and water.

  10. Tip

    Hang the drainage bag lower than the bladder. Make sure the drain port is clamped on the new bag to avoid a mess.


    When disconnecting the drainage tubing from the catheter, be careful not to pull on the catheter tubing. Do not hang a bedside drainage bag from the headboard, footboard or a chair close to the bed. Do not rest the drainage bag on the floor. Avoid touching the ends of the catheter tube or the drainage bag tube.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Bedside drainage bag or leg bag
  • Towel
  • Three alcohol gauze pads

About the Author

Since 2008, Jennifer S. Wright has written articles on a variety of topics including parenting concerns, medical conditions and nursing issues. Her articles have appeared in "LPN" magazine as well as on various online publications. An LVN since graduating from Weatherford College in 2005, Wright has taken care of elderly, pediatric and obstetric patients in hospital and home health care settings.

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