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General Practice 2023

How to take care of the urinary catheter at home

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How to take care of the urinary catheter at home
How to take care of the urinary catheter at home

The main steps in caring for someone who is using a urinary catheter at home are keeping the catheter and collection bag clean and always checking that the catheter is working properly. In addition, it is also important to change the urinary catheter according to the material and the manufacturer's instructions.

Usually, the urinary catheter is inserted into the urethra to treat urinary retention, in cases of benign prostatic hypertrophy or in the postoperative period of urological and gynecological surgeries, for example. See when it is recommended to use a urinary catheter.

How to keep the probe and collection bag clean

To speed up recovery and prevent an infection from developing, it is very important to always keep the probe and collection bag clean, as well as the genitals, to avoid a urinary tract infection, for example.

To ensure that the urinary catheter is clean and free of urine crystals, the following precautions must be taken:

  • Avoid pulling or pushing the urinary catheter, as it can cause wounds to the bladder and urethra;
  • Wash the outside of the tube with soap and water 2 to 3 times a day to prevent bacteria from contaminating the urinary tract;
  • Do not lift the collection bag above the level of the bladder, keeping it hanging on the edge of the bed when sleeping, for example, so that the urine does not enter the bladder again, carrying bacteria into the body;
  • Never put the collection bag on the floor,transporting it, whenever necessary, inside a plastic bag or tied to the leg, to prevent bacteria from the floor contaminate the probe;
  • Empty the catheter collection bag whenever it is half full of urine, using the bag tap.If the bag does not have a tap, it must be thrown in the trash and changed. When emptying the bag it is important to observe the urine, as changes in color can indicate some type of complication such as bleeding or infection. See what can cause urine color to change.

In addition to these precautions, it is important to dry the collection bag and probe well after bathing. However, if the collection bag separates from the probe in the bath or at another time, it is important to throw it in the trash and replace it with a new, sterilized collection bag. The probe tip must also be disinfected with alcohol at 70º.

Care for the urinary catheter can be done by the caregiver, but it should also be done by the person himself, whenever he feels able.

When changing the urinary catheter

In most cases, the urinary catheter is made of silicone and, therefore, must be changed every 3 months. However, if you have a probe made of another type of material, such as latex, it may be necessary to change the probe more frequently, every 10 days, for example.

The exchange must be performed at the hospital by a he althcare professional and, therefore, is usually already scheduled.

Warning signs to go to the hospital

Some signs that indicate that you should immediately go to the hospital or emergency room, to change the probe and do tests, are:

  • The probe is out of place;
  • Presence of blood inside the collection bag;
  • Urine leaking out of the tube;
  • Decrease in the amount of urine;
  • Fever above 38º C and chills;
  • Pain in the bladder or belly.

In some cases it is normal for the person to feel like peeing all the time due to the presence of the probe in the bladder, and this discomfort can be perceived as a slight discomfort or constant pain in the bladder, which should be referred to the doctor to prescribe appropriate medication, increasing comfort.

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