Care Of A Foley Catheter

A Foley catheter is a tube that is put into the bladder to drain urine out of the body. Caring for your catheter:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after caring for your catheter.
  • Clean the skin around the catheter each day and after every bowel movement gently using a washcloth with warm soap and water.
  • Always wash away from where the catheter enters the body and then down. Hold the catheter while cleaning to keep it from being pulled out. Never clean the catheter towards your body because it may increase your chances of getting an infection. Gently pat dry.
  • You may notice dried crust around the outside of the catheter. These can be removed by gently wiping with a wet washcloth.
  • Do not use alcohol on the area where the catheter enters the body or the tip of the penis as this can be very drying to the skin and cause irritation.
  • After each bowel movement, women should take care to wipe the anal area from front to back, away from the catheter.
  • Men can develop irritation of the end of the penis from the catheter. If this occurs apply a generous amount of Neosporin around the catheter insertion site.
  • It is ok to shower with a catheter and urine bag in place, unless your provider says not to.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water or other liquids each day. Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as tea, coffee and sodas.
  • A Foley catheter can remain in place for hours to weeks and is typically changed monthly. Positioning your catheter:
  • Urine must always drain “downhill”. Keep the urine bag below waist level to prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder from the tubing and urine bag. Backflow of urine can cause an infection.
  • Do not place drainage bag directly on the floor. Do not allow it to drag.
  • Wear cotton underwear to allow for air flow and drying in your genital area.
  • Boxer shorts are often more comfortable to wear for both men and women.
  • Do not pull on the tubing. Do not step on the tubing when walking. Ensure catheter is secured to your upper thigh via a catheter securement device. Make sure there is enough tubing so the catheter will not be pulled when you move your leg.
  • When getting into bed, hang the urine bag beside the bed or on the frame of the bed.
  • Keep the tubing free of kinks or loops.

Reference: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2013). Urinary Diversion. Retrieved May 14, 2020.