Foley is Good: Insertion and care of Foley catheters

foley is good

Foley catheters consist of a sterile tube that is introduced into the bladder in order to drain urine. The tip of the device has a small solution-filled balloon intended to hold the catheter in place in the bladder.


  1. The genital area is cleaned with a sterile solution.
  2. The catheter is smeared with lubricant to enable its insertion.
  3. The end of the catheter with the deflated balloon is inserted into the urethra.
  4. The device is slowly and gently introduced into the bladder.
  5. The patient may be asked to breathe slowly and deeply or to push as if they were attempting to urine as the catheter is introduced.
  6. When urine is seen flowing from the catheter, the balloon at the end of it is filled so that the catheter remains in place and doesn’t come out.
  7. The open end of the catheter is attached to a sterile drainage bag.

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 Foley catheter and drainage bag care


·         Clean genital area daily with soap and water.

·         Clean catheter and the area around the insertion site with soap and water.

·         Fix the tube in place with a leg strap or medical tape to keep from moving or pulling the catheter and avoid pain and bladder spasms.

·         Make sure that the catheter is attached to the drainage bag and that the two form a closed system at all times. Refrain from disconnecting any part of the system unless the bag needs to be changed.

Drainage bag

·         Keep the bag below waist level to keep urine from flowing back up the tube and into the bladder.

·         Avoid looping or kinking the tube, which can result in urine backing up and collecting into the bladder.

·         Do not allow the bag to touch or lie on the floor.

·         Empty the bag every 3-6 hours or when it’s 2/3rds full.

·         Ask a doctor how often to change the bag and what cleaning solution to use to clean it.

·         Wear medical gloves when changing the bag.

·         Don’t let the end of the catheter or tube to touch anything.

·         Clean the ends with an alcohol pad before reconnecting them




No urine draining into the bag

·         Check for kinks in the tube and straighten them out.

·         Check that the strap or tape used to fix the catheter in place is not obstructing the tube.

·         Make sure you’re not sitting or lying on the tube.

·         Ensure the bag is hanging below level waist.

Urine leaking from or around the catheter, tubing, or drainage bag

·         Check whether the closed drainage system has come open or apart.

·         Clean the catheter and tubing ends with a fresh alcohol pad and reattach them.


Risks of Foley catheters

The main risk stemming from use of a Foley catheter is developing a urinary tract infection (UTI). This occurs when bacteria get inside the tube of an open drainage system. Failure to properly cleaning the catheter or neglecting to wash hands can also result in infection that can reach the bladder and other organs. UTI symptoms include:

·         Fever.

·         Chills.

·         Headache.

·         Burning sensation in the urethra or genital area.

·         Leakage of urine from or around the catheter, tubing, or drainage bag.

·         Blood in urine.

·         Urine that smells bad.

·         Low back pain.

Washing hands with soap and water before and after touching the catheter, tube, or bag and before preparing or eating food; using medical gloves when handling catheter equipment; and drinking liquids as instructed by a doctor are all measures that help prevent catheter-related infections. Other complications associated with catheters are allergic reaction to the material, bladder stones, urethral injury, kidney damage, and septicemia.

Call a doctor if there is:

Call 911 if

·         Fever.

·         Blood in the tubing or bag.

·         Rash or itching at the site where the tube is fixed to the skin.

·         Urine leakage.

·         A layer of crystals within the tube.

·         The catheter comes out.

·         There is sand-looking material in the tube or bag.

·         There is no urine draining into the bag after the system has been checked.

·         There is hip, back, pelvis, or lower abdomen pain.

·         There are bladder spasms.

·         There is confusion or inability to think clearly.

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