What is a Foley Catheter?
You have a Foley catheter in place to drain urine. This video will help you to understand how to care for the catheter and the drainage collection bag.
Start all care by washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and dry them.
If you are doing the foley care for another person, put on disposable gloves after hand washing. This is for your own protection, even if you are caring for a family member.
Using a fresh clean washcloth, warm water, and mild soap, wash the skin around the catheter, penis and scrotum. This area must be cleaned every day to prevent infection. Also wash the catheter, especially where it is close to the skin. You may shower to stay clean but do not soak in a bathtub.
When you are finished dry the skin with a clean towel.
A small dab of bacitracin antibiotic ointment or vaseline may be put on the tip of the penis to make the catheter more comfortable. Do not touch the skin with the tube.
Next, you may change the large overnight urine bag to a small leg bag to make it easier to move around during the day.
Before changing the bag, take off your dirty gloves and wash your hands and put on fresh clean gloves.
Put your supplies where they are easy to reach. You will need a clean or new leg bag, clean towel and alcohol wipes.
Place a clean towel under the connection of the catheter to the drainage tube.
Clamp the collection bag tubing so that it will not spill. Next, hold the catheter and the bag tubing where they meet and gently pull them apart.
To connect a new leg bag, remove the cap from the top of the bag and gently push the tip into the catheter without touching the tip with your fingers.
If you are re-using a bag, clean the tip with an alcohol wipe before connecting.
Strap the bag to the leg. Not loose enough that it could get tangled, but not so tight that it pulls on the catheter.
Be sure the drainage spout on the bottom of the bag is closed.
To change back to the large, overnight bag you will repeat the same steps.
The catheter must be lower than your bladder and hips to drain and keep the bladder empty. Hang the large bag next to you on your bed or chair, do not lay it on the floor.
If the catheter is not draining check the tubing to see if it is kinked or pinched. You can try gently moving the drainage tubing up and down then tipping it toward the floor to get it to drain.
If a bag has been disconnected and will be used again sometime later, it must be cleaned.
Before cleaning the bag, empty any urine into the toilet using the bottom spout. Do not let the spout touch any part of the toilet.
Then wash and rinse the outside of the bag.
Next, to clean the inside of the bag you will need a large syringe, a measuring cup, and white vinegar.
First, rinse the inside of the bag with plain warm water. You can use the syringe to push water thru the tubing into the bag. Let the water drain out and close the bottom spout.
Next mix 1 cup of water with one cup of white vinegar. Use the syringe to put the vinegar water mixture into the bag. Close the drainage tubing and let the bag sit for 30 minutes or one-half hour.
Then open the bottom drain to empty the vinegar mixture from the bag. Rinse the bag again with plain water.
Use the syringe to put some air into the bag and with all connections open, hang the bag to dry.
Do not reuse a bag that has not been properly cleaned because it may cause infection.
When you are finished, remove your gloves and place in a trash container. Wash and dry your hands.
Call your doctor
- if your catheter will not drain,
- if you have a fever, chills or back pain,
- for bleeding
- if your urine has a strong bad odor
- and call if you have pain at the catheter site, where it goes into your body.
This video is intended as a tool to help you to better understand the care instructions that you have been given. It is not intended to replace any specific advice or personal care instructions that you have received from your care team. If you have any questions or problems please be sure to call or be seen.