Care of Urethral Catheter

Leg bags must be left attached to the catheter and must be changed on a weekly basis. Do not disconnect leg bag prior to this. Overnight bags must be attached to the bottom of the leg bag each evening and disconnected the following morning (refer to guidelines for cleaning overnight bags).

Observe for continuous urine drainage. Check and empty leg bag every 2-3 hours. If no urine flows or there is urine leaking around the catheter this may indicate a blocked catheter. Try the following: milk the catheter, change position (sit, stand or lie on your side). If urine still does not flow seek medical advice immediately.

Ensure you maintain adequate fluid intake to help flush the catheter and prevent a urinary tract infection (1.5 – 2 litres is adequate).

A good bowel routine is essential in preventing constipation (constipation places pressure on the bladder and may result in urine bypassing around the catheter).

If you commence voiding around the catheter (by passing catheter), check that the catheter is not kinked or ‘pulling’. If bypassing continues arrange to have a catheter changed.

Catheter care should be performed twice daily:

  • Wash gently around exit site with liquid soap (avoid using bar soap) and water.
  • Avoid powders and creams.

Ensure your catheter is anchored correctly using thigh and leg straps to avoid unnecessary pulling or tugging of the catheter as this will cause more discomfort/pain. Adjusts your straps throughout the day as required.

  • If catheter is inadvertently removed, seek medical assistance immediately.
  • Alternate the sides the leg bag is worn i.e. Left leg on one day and right leg the next day.
  • Infection of the urine can cause blockage of catheter and bypassing.

Signs of infection are

  • Feeling unwell
  • Fever
  • Foul/offensive urine.
  • Signs of blood and/or sediment in urine.

Please see your local GP if signs of a urinary tract infection as you may need treatment.