MAINTAINING AN INDWELLING CATHETER
When an indwelling or retention catheter is inserted, the nurse is responsible for
the daily care required to maintain proper drainage and reduce the possibility of an
infection occurring. Always have a confident, reassuring, and professional attitude
when maintaining the catheter so that the patient will not feel embarrassed.
a. Wash your hands before and after caring for the patient and wear gloves
when handling an indwelling catheter.
b. Clean the perineal area with soap and water twice daily and after each bowel
movement, especially around the meatus. Use a separate area of the cloth for each
c. In some cases, an antiseptic may be used for perineal care. Povidone iodine
(Betadine) is most commonly recommended.
d. Avoid use of lotions or powder in the perineal area.
e. Arrange for the patient to take a shower or tub bath when permitted. The
collecting container may be hung over the side of the tub. The catheter should be
clamped temporarily if the collecting container is higher than the bladder.
f. A leg bag (figure 3-8) may be worn in the shower. This device allows the
ambulatory patient to move about freely and dress in his usual clothing. Keep the
tubing intact and free of kinks.
g. Open the port at the bottom of the urinary collecting bag. This permits all the
connections and tubing between the catheter and drainage device to remain closed
while permitting you to measure and dispose of accumulated urine.
Figure 3-8. Urinary collecting leg bag.