Living with a Foley Catheter
Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with a condition that requires catheterization? If so, you’re not alone. There are lots of people both young and old around the world who require catheters on a daily basis. Although the process of inserting a catheter and cleaning it regularly requires a bit of focus and attention, most people who use them daily adjust easily. Catheters offer those who need them the freedom to get back to normal daily activities, unencumbered by urinary issues or bladder dysfunction. The Foley catheter is presently one of the most commonly used types of urinary catheters. If living with a Foley catheter has become a necessity for you, it is important to understand how they work, how they are inserted and removed, and what your normal routine will look like overall.
night drainage bag is recommended. Again, this should sit below the level of your bladder, and is usually larger than a leg bag to allow for urine to drain freely throughout the night.
What is a Foley Catheter?A Foley catheter is made of hollow, flexible tubing and is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. Once the tubing has reached the bladder, a small Foley balloon at the end of the tube is inflated with sterile water. This balloon helps hold the catheter securely in place. Typically, a Foley catheter is inserted by a doctor or nurse, but it’s quite easy for an individual or their caregiver to clean and maintain them regularly after that. Inserting a Foley catheter can be uncomfortable, but medical practitioners do the best they can to reduce this discomfort. Often, they will apply an anesthetic gel to the area before inserting the catheter, to help numb the area and minimize pain. Once the tubing is in place, the drainage end is attached to a bag that collects the urine. The drainage bag should always be kept below waist level. Most people prefer small, discreet leg bags, which attach securely to the leg with tape or a catheter stabilization device. The bag should be emptied every 2 to 4 hours; but as you adjust to your catheter, you will become aware of your habits and should empty it as needed. At night, a
The Basics of Foley Catheter CareOne of the most important aspects of having a Foley catheter is learning how to care for it effectively. This is essential to preventing the development of a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), a serious bacterial infection that could be fatal if left untreated. There are two essential things you need to do to prevent bacteria from entering the catheter system:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching any part of the tubing or bag.
- Shower daily to keep the catheter entry site clean.