FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do you flush a urinary catheter with?
Urinary catheters require regular cleaning to ensure proper functionality. One of the most common maintenance practices is ‘flushing’, performed either daily or weekly depending on your personal circumstances and catheter type. This process is an essential way to keep the urine flowing freely and your equipment free of germs and bacteria.
A urinary catheter should always be flushed with a special saline solution. This sterile solution is inserted into the catheter tubing using an irrigation syringe to ensure that the correct amount of saline solution flows evenly through the catheter tubing.
Before and after you flush your catheter, always remember to wash your hands carefully with soap and water.
What is the purpose of a bladder washout?
A bladder washout is similar to a catheter irrigation or flush. However, instead of the saline solution circulating solely within the catheter, the solution enters the bladder as well. In situations where there is a lot of sediment in the urine or when the catheter has been draining incorrectly or is completely blocked, bladder washouts may be the best course of action.
By washing out the bladder with a washout kit or sterile irrigation kit, some believe that they can avoid urinary tract infections or heavy sediment accumulation in the bladder. However, always ask your doctor before performing a bladder washout, as many clinicians are still unsure of their efficacy.
What is included in a urinary catheter irrigation kit?
Urinary catheter irrigation kits are designed to make cleaning your catheter as simple and easy as possible. A standard irrigation tray typically includes an alcohol wipe, a protector cap, a piston or bulb syringe, a tray, and a waterproof drape. All of these products will be packaged in a way that ensures they remain sterile until you are ready to use them.
If you feel uncertain about what you need to irrigate or flush your catheter, purchasing a pre-made irrigation tray kit is a great way to make sure you have the right equipment every time.
How can I irrigate a foley catheter at home?
If you notice that your Foley catheter is blocked or is draining slower than normal, it may be a good idea to irrigate it to flush out blockages and lingering sediment. In these situations, irrigating a Foley catheter is just the same as irrigating any other type of catheter.
Using a sterile irrigation tray, the individual irrigating a Foley catheter would carefully fill the irrigation syringe with saline solution, then insert the tip of the syringe into the catheter tubing. Once the saline solution has flushed through the catheter, it can be recaptured by the same syringe and disposed of.
How do I irrigate a suprapubic catheter?
The process of irrigating a suprapubic catheter is very similar to the process of irrigating any other type of catheter. Once the suprapubic catheter tube is disconnected from the drainage bag, the tip of a sterile irrigation syringe is introduced, and saline solution is allowed to flow through the tubing and into the drainage bag.
If the fluid doesn’t drain immediately, you may have a blockage. Always consult your doctor in this event, as they can advise you on the best course of action to take to ensure the safety and sterility of your catheter.
When should a catheter be irrigated?
There are many schools of thought when it comes to catheter irrigation. In the past, regular catheter irrigation was suggested. However, many professional medical practitioners and associations are now discouraging this practice, because every new handling of a catheter has the potential to introduce bacteria into the sterile environment.
Instead, it’s suggested that individuals with catheters and those who take care of them should only irrigate the catheter if urine is slow to drain, or if it’s entirely blocked. In these situations, it’s important to do everything possible to maintain a sterile environment, such as using a sterile, pre-packaged syringe irrigation tray.
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.