GUIDE TO URINARY CATHETER SUPPLIES
The Importance of Catheter Care
Urinary catheters are used when a patient is unable to void urine independently. Intermittent catheters are used on-demand, usually when a patient is able to catheterize without assistance. This type of catheter will be inserted when needed and removed after voiding is complete. Foley catheters are intended to remain in place for an extended period of time. This type of catheter is usually inserted and removed by a healthcare professional. External catheters, made for both men and women, are noninvasive alternatives typically used to manage incontinence. To maintain optimal health, careful handling and good catheter care is a must no matter which catheter type is employed.
Catheterized patients are prone to CAUTI (or catheter-associated urinary tract infections) as germs and bacteria can find their way into the bladder or kidney through the inserted device. The longer a catheter is in place, the greater risk of possible infection. A consistent maintenance routine, including hygienic insertion, regular cleansing, timely replacement, and flushing, helps to mitigate that risk. Other catheter supplies like lubricants, extension tubes, insertion kits, and antiseptic wipes add convenience to the catheterization process.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF A FOLEY CATHETER AT HOME
Clean Your Catheter Regularly
While taking a bath is not recommended when catheterized, showers are welcomed and a convenient place to wash your catheter. Healthcare professionals recommend showering with a night bag rather than a leg bag. Whether you choose to clean it in the shower or otherwise, scrub your hands with warm soap and water before beginning the process. To clean the catheter, use a mild soap and warm water on a clean washcloth. Begin at the point where the catheter enters the body and work your way towards the urine collection bag. Be sure to lift the labia or foreskin to reach all areas. Rinse thoroughly, towel dry, and replace the catheter securement device if need be.
- Clean Washcloth
- Clean Towel
- Mild Soap
- Catheter Securement Device
Change Your Urine Drainage Bag Regularly
You will most likely change your urine collection bag twice each day as you transition from a night bag to a leg bag. After gathering your supplies, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Empty the drainage bag taking care to avoid contact between any part of the catheter system and the toilet or urine container. Place a clean cloth on the surface below the catheter tubing to absorb leaks or spills. Using your fingers or a catheter clamp, pinch the tubing and disconnect the bag. Clean the end of the catheter with an alcohol pad or antiseptic wipe. With a second wipe, clean the connector on the new bag and attach it to your catheter. Release the clamp or your finger pinch and check your connections for leakage. Also, inspect the tubing for kinks. If changing to a leg bag, secure it below the knee with a leg bag holder or straps. Add a catheter securement device to keep the tubing in place. Extension tubing is available in the instance the provided tube is too short.
- Clean Cloth or Towel
- Toilet or Container to Catch Urine
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Catheter Clamp
- Extension Tube
- Catheter Securement Device
- Leg Bag Strap/Holder or Hanging System for Night Bags
Clean Your Urine Drainage Bags Regularly
As always when working with your catheter equipment, start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Then, using a washcloth or towelette, clean the outside of the urine drainage bag with soap and water. Fill the bag with a mix of three parts warm water and one part white vinegar, shake, and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes to resolve unpleasant odors. Rinse with cool water and hang dry. Once the bag is fully dry, you can reuse it. Experts recommend replacing your urine drainage bag and catheter valves every 7 days.
In some instances, typically following surgical procedures or as a result of some kidney or urinary disorders, blood clots and debris may build up in the bladder preventing the freeflow of urine through the catheter. To avoid unnecessary pain and infection, bladder irrigation should be performed on a regular basis until no longer necessary. Specially designed catheters called 3-way Foley catheters and bladder irrigation products are available to safely flush sterile saline solution through the catheter into the bladder.
TYPES OF URINARY CATHETER PRODUCTS
Antiseptic wipes or towelettes should be used to prep the surrounding skin to avoid cross-contamination during the insertion or removal process.
Bladder irrigation products are essential to wash out the bladder when deposits or clots are problematic. These safe and effective products are sold separately or in kits including sterile saline solution, bulb syringes, collection trays, containers, tip protectors, waterproof drapes and alcohol wipes.
Catheter stabilization devices, like Statlock devices, are an effective alternative to medical tape for the securement of catheter tubing. Stabilizers also prevent the traumatic pulling often associated with unsecured tubing.
Insertion kits, or catheterization kits, include everything you need for safe and hygienic self-cathing. Typically included are trays along with essential products like sanitizing swabs, sterile lubricants, exam gloves, underpads, or protective sheets. In some cases, a catheter may also be packaged within the kit.
For both self-cathing in a home setting or catheterizing patients in a medical environment, sterile lubricants are a necessity for minimizing pain and discomfort when inserting a catheter. Sterile lubricants also provide an added layer of protection from bacteria entering the urethra during the catheterization process.
Catheter tubes are used to connect Foley, intermittent, or external catheters to urine collection bags. Separately sold, extension tubing can make daytime activity and sleep movement more comfortable. Most extension tubing is latex-free, made from durable vinyl, and can be simply cut to length.
Flexible and breathable, leg bag holders conform to the patient’s calf or thigh with light compression to securely and discreetly hold the bag in place. Leg straps are available with velcro, snap, and button fasteners.
Catheter clamps and valves stop the flow of urine through the catheter tube during drainage bag changes or temporary removal. Catheter plugs and caps are used with indwelling devices to help prevent infection-causing lumen occlusion.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is catheterization?
Urinary catheterization is a process in which a hollow tube is inserted in the urethra. This is a flexible tube designed to collect urine from the bladder. It leads out to a drainage bag that captures the urine.
There are two different types of catheters available. The first is referred to as an “indwelling” or “Foley” catheter. Specialized Foley supplies are needed for this type of catheterization. Indwelling catheters are held in place by a water-filled balloon that prevents the catheter from sliding out of the bladder.
The other common type of catheter is the intermittent catheter. This requires a different set of urological supplies. That is because this type of catheter is designed to be inserted several times per day—long enough to drain urine before removal.
Does Medicare pay for catheter supplies?
In many cases, Medicare will pay for urinary catheter supplies. Medicare Part A will pay for catheters that are used in a hospital setting. Medicare Part B, may cover catheters that are used in outpatient settings.
In order for Medicare to cover the cost of catheter supplies, they must be considered medically necessary as part of care. Often, this means that for coverage to apply, catheters must be considered a prosthetic. Catheters may also be covered when administered by a home health care professional as part of home health benefits.
What are urological supplies?
Urological supplies can include a variety of things. While catheters are the most common product, you will also need other catheter accessories for urine collection, comfort and hygiene. Drainage bags are necessary to collect urine. Various styles are available to meet your personal preference and condition.
Other types of catheterization supplies include leg bands, lubricants, disinfecting supplies, and irrigation kits. Leg bands are designed to hold catheter tubes and drainage bags in place so that they can be worn more comfortably. Lubricating jelly is designed to make catheter insertion easier. Prep pads and swab sticks are available to ensure sanitation during catheter insertion and removal. There are also sheath-style catheters designed for men. These are made to be worn like a condom, eliminating the need to insert a catheter into the urethra.
What is a catheter insertion tray?
Among urinary supplies, catheterization trays and insertion tray kits are some of the most useful. Insertion tray kits conveniently include nearly everything needed for sterile catheterization. Kits are available for intermittent, external and Foley catheters use.
Catheterization kits include sanitizing wipes, swabs, and gloves to ensure sanitation; absorbent pads and waterproof drapes to protect surfaces or clothing during catheter insertion or removal; and sterile lubricants to ease catheter insertion. Some kits also include syringes with sterile water for irrigation, a container to collect urine samples, and even the catheter itself.
How can I make a catheter more comfortable?
Ensuring your catheter supplies are clean at all times will help to prevent skin irritation and potentially painful infections. Experts recommend treating the insertion area with a quality skin care cleanser at least twice daily. Other preventative measures like frequent hand washing and use of disposable gloves during the insertion process will help to stave off potential contamination. Hydration is also key. Some believe drinking less will lead to less frequent urination and therefore make wearing a catheter easier, but the reverse is actually true. Proper hydration promotes regular urine flow, prevents irritation, and helps to keep the catheter line free of residue or blockages.
Using the right catheter accessories allows a patient to confidently and comfortably go about their daily lives - starting with the urine collection system. If you have an active lifestyle, consider choosing a discreet leg bag and a well-fitting leg band or strap that won't limit your range of motion or irritate your skin. These straps will also ensure the catheter tubing remains in place and won't kink or tangle as you go about your day. Less active or immobile patients may prefer a larger volume drainage bag to allow more time between emptying. Extension tubing is another effective way to provide more freedom of movement during daily activities or while sleeping.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.