Management of urinary catheters

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1 Information for patients and relatives This leaflet is available in other formats including large print, audio tape, CD and braille, and in languages other than English, upon request. Corp/326.2 (2012) Page 1 of 6 For Review Summer 2015 This leaflet tells you how to manage your urinary catheter. Why do I need a urinary catheter? Urine (wee) is normally passed from the bladder through the urethra (tube from your bladder). Certain medical conditions or operations may make this difficult. In these cases a urethral or suprapubic catheter may be needed. For most people this will only be needed for a short time. What is a urethral catheter? A uretral catheter is a small, flexible tube inserted through your urethra into your bladder to drain urine. To stop the catheter falling out a small balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated (blown up) once it is inside your bladder. You will not need to pass urine in the normal way. Your urine will drain into a collection bag. One of your nurses will show you how to care for your catheter before you go home from hospital. A district nurse will contact you within 24 hours of discharge from hospital. You will be given an integrated urinary catheter care passport on discharge from hospital, which will contain the details of your catheter. Please give this to your district nurse as it has important information which will be needed for your future care. How long will I need a catheter? The length of time you will need a catheter will depend on the reason you need it. Some people need a catheter for only a few days or weeks, others may need a permanent catheter. How long the catheter remains in place will depend on the type of catheter you have. Your district nurse will advise you. It is up to you to keep your own spare supplies for the catheter at home, and tell your GP or district nurse when you are running low on supplies as this can take a few days to arrange. If you have any worries or concerns speak to your district nurse. How can I care for my catheter? Your catheter must be treated as a part of your body and will need to be kept clean. Before you leave hospital you will be given a pack which will be used by the district nurse to care for your catheter.

2 Corp/326.2 (2012) Page 2 of 6 For Review Summer 2015 To care for your catheter: you should have a daily bath or shower if possible, using unperfumed soap or shower gel and water to clean the catheter area. If you cannot have a daily bath or shower you must wash the area every day using a clean cloth. men should wash their penis well, particularly under the foreskin women should wash the catheter area first and then wash around their back passage you should then dry the area thoroughly. Never use talcum powder or creams as these could cause irritation. Emptying your leg drainage bag: empty your drainage bag before it gets too full. A full drainage bag will cause strain on the straps, and will be uncomfortable. empty the bag by opening the tap at the bottom to allow the urine to drain into the toilet. A container may be used if you find getting to the toilet difficult. This must be kept for this purpose only and washed with hot soapy water and dried between use. not forget to close the tap once the bag has been emptied. Attaching your overnight drainage bag: When you go to bed your leg bag can be attached to an overnight bag. This will hold more urine so you do not have to get up during the night to empty the bag. You may be given a drainable bag or a disposable bag. Your district nurse will advise you. attach the overnight bag to the tap on your leg bag and then open the tap to allow free drainage loosen the leg bag straps for comfort always keep the bag lower than your bladder to allow good drainage of urine support the overnight bag on the stand.

3 Corp/326.2 (2012) Page 3 of 6 For Review Summer 2015 Removing your overnight drainage bag: On waking your overnight drainage bag should be removed. close the tap on the leg bag disconnect the overnight bag and drain contents into your toilet or container bin your overnight drainage bag if it is a disposable bag seek advice from your district nurse if you have a non-disposable bag (see below). Changing your leg drainage bag: Your leg bag should be changed once a week. remove the cap from your new bag empty your old leg bag remove your old bag, firmly attach a new leg bag to the end of your catheter secure the new leg bag in place put the cap on the end of your old bag dispose of your bag (see below). Disposal of drainage bags: before disposal, make sure your bag is empty put the cap from your new bag onto the end of your old bag double wrap your drainage bag in plastic bags and place in your bin. Using a catheter valve: Some people prefer to use a catheter valve rather than a leg drain bag. Your nurse will show you the different products available and discuss these with you.

4 Corp/326.2 (2012) Page 4 of 6 For Review Summer 2015 open the valve whenever you feel the need to pass urine, before going to bed at night and first thing in the morning. Overnight you may wish to attach the valve to an overnight bag to prevent the need for you to get up to drain the catheter. This can be done by attaching an overnight bag to the valve and then opening the valve to allow free drainage. close the valve (in the morning), before disconnecting the overnight drainage bag change your valve once a week. This can be done by opening the old valve first to drain your bladder, removing the valve and putting in a new one. double wrap the valve in plastic bags and place in your bin. How can I help myself? You can help by making sure: your catheter drains well by drinking at least 1.5 litres (3-4 pints) of fluid each day your urine is straw-coloured. If it becomes yellow or dark yellow increase the amount of fluid you drink. you avoid becoming constipated by eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and cereals. Can I still have sex? You can still have sex with a urinary catheter in place. Both partners should wash their genitals (private parts) with warm soapy water before and after sex. Men should empty their drainage bag. Bend the catheter along their penis and use a condom to hold the catheter in place. Women should empty their drainage bag. Tape the catheter over their abdomen (tummy) so it is out of the way. What problems might I have? If urine is not draining: make sure there are no kinks in the drainage tube which may stop drainage check all the connections check the drainage bag is below the level of your bladder make sure you are drinking enough fluids.

5 Corp/326.2 (2012) Page 5 of 6 For Review Summer 2015 If urine is leaking around your catheter, make sure: there are no kinks in the drainage tube the drainage bag is below the level of your bladder the drainage bag is well supported you are not constipated. You may need to eat more high fibre foods. If you develop pain in your lower abdomen: check urine is draining from your catheter. When should I ask for further advice? Contact your district nurse if: your urine has not drained after 2-3 hours and you have long term pain there is blood in your urine and it does not clear after drinking extra fluids your urine is cloudy, smelly or feels as if it is burning, and does not improve after drinking extra fluids urine keeps leaking around your catheter if your lower abdomen pain continues. What if I want to go on holiday? You must take your integrated urinary catheter care passport and spare catheter supplies with you. If you have any problems seek medical advice. Contact numbers If you have any questions or worries please contact your District Nurse at any time of the day or night. You will be given contact details for your district nurse on the first visit. Further information is available from: NHS Direct telephone: 111 (when it is less urgent than 999) Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones or via the website at

6 Corp/326.2 (2012) Page 6 of 6 For Review Summer 2015 This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to Quality Assurance Lead, University Hospital of North Tees, or telephone: or Comments or complaints We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. Please let us know about things we are doing well, or if you have any suggestions about how services can be improved. Our Patient Advisory Liaison Service (PALS) is here to try to deal with any problems on the spot and give information about local services. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PALS leaflet please contact: University Hospital of North Tees telephone: or University Hospital of Hartlepool telephone: or If you are unhappy with any aspect of your care, please speak to any member of staff, PALS, the Patient Relations Department or write to the Chief Executive. If you would like a copy of our complaints leaflet please contact the Trust Patient Relations Department on: telephone: Data Protection and use of patient information The Trust has developed a Data Protection Policy in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act All of our staff respect this policy, and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information please contact the Head of Patient and Public Involvement. telephone: or University Hospital of North Tees, Hardwick, Stockton-on-Tees TS19 8PE Telephone: Fax: University Hospital of Hartlepool, Holdforth Road, Hartlepool TS24 9AH Telephone: Fax:

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