An indwelling catheter is a flexible tube that’s put into your bladder to drain urine. It’s held in place by a small, water-filled balloon inside your bladder. Your catheter (often called a Foley®) is connected to a tube that leads to a drainage bag. Urine from the catheter drains through the tube into the drainage bag.
Always wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleaner before and after doing catheter care. Use soap and water if your hands look dirty,
not the alcohol based cleaner. Only people that know how to do catheter care should help you.
Keep the system connected as much as possible. Only disconnect the catheter from the drainage system when changing bags. If the catheter/tubing must be disconnected, wipe it with a 70% isopropyl alcohol swab
before you disconnect it.
To disconnect or connect the drainage bag from the catheter:
Don’t the leg bag or night bag get full. Empty the drainage bag when it is ½ to ⅔ full (at least every 4 to 8 hours) or when switching from one type of drainage bag to another. If you’re using a leg bag, you may need to empty it more often (like every 3 to 4 hours) because it’s smaller than the night bag.
To empty the drainage bag:
If you’re measuring your urine output, write the amount with the date and time on a paper or in a notebook. Use a container that has measure markings. Note the colour and smell of your urine. Urine should be clear yellow and have a mild smell. Below is an example of what to record:
To clean the drainage bag:
Call your doctor for any of the below issues:
Always have a catheter tray and catheter at home in case your Home Care nurse needs to change your catheter.
It’s common to have questions about having sexual intercourse with an indwelling catheter. Below are some tips that may help. Please speak with your doctor or Home Care nurse if you have questions or concerns.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at
* Source: Evidence-Based Guidelines for Best Practice in Urological Health Care: Urethral and Suprapubic, European Association of Urology Nurses 2012
Current as of: July 7, 2014
Author: Home Care, Alberta Health Services