Suprapubic Catheter Home Guide

Suprapubic Catheter Home Guide Instructions

A suprapubic catheter is a rubber tube used to drain urine from the bladder into a collection bag. The catheter is inserted into the bladder through a small opening in the in the lower abdomen, near the center of the body, above the pubic bone (suprapubic area). There is a tiny balloon filled with germ-free (sterile) water on the end of the catheter that is in the bladder. The balloon helps to keep the catheter in place.

Your suprapubic catheter may need to be replaced every 4–6 weeks, or as often as recommended by your health care provider. The collection bag must be emptied every day and cleaned every 2–3 days. The collection bag can be put beside your bed at night and attached to your leg during the day. You may have a large collection bag to use at night and a smaller one to use during the day.

What are the risks?

  • Urine flow can become blocked. This can happen if the catheter is not working correctly, or if you have a blood clot in your bladder or in the catheter.
  • Tissue near the catheter may can become irritated and bleed.
  • Bacteria may get into your bladder and cause a urinary tract infection.

How do I change the catheter?

Supplies needed

  • Two pairs of sterile gloves.
  • Catheter.
  • Two syringes.
  • Sterile water.
  • Sterile cleaning solution.
  • Lubricant.
  • Collection bags.

Changing the catheter

To replace your catheter, take the following steps:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids during the hours before you plan to change the catheter.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  3. Lie on your back and put on sterile gloves.
  4. Clean the skin around the catheter opening using the sterile cleaning solution.
  5. Remove the water from the balloon using a syringe.
  6. Slowly remove the catheter.
    1. Do not pull on the catheter if it seems stuck.
    1. Call your health care provider immediately if you have difficulty removing the catheter.
  7. Take off the used gloves, and put on a new pair.
  8. Put lubricant on the end of the new catheter that will go into your bladder.
  9. Gently slide the catheter through the opening in your abdomen and into your bladder.
  10. Wait for some urine to start flowing through the catheter. When urine starts to flow through the catheter, use a new syringe to fill the balloon with sterile water.
  11. Attach the collection bag to the end of the catheter. Make sure the connection is tight.
  12. Remove the gloves and wash your hands with soap and water.

How do I care for my skin around the catheter?

Use a clean washcloth and soapy water to clean the skin around your catheter every day. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.

  • Do not pull on the catheter.
  • Do not use ointment or lotion on this area unless told by your health care provider.
  • Check your skin around the catheter every day for signs of infection. Check for:
    • Redness, swelling, or pain.
    • Fluid or blood.
    • Warmth.
    • Pus or a bad smell.

How do I clean and empty the collection bag?

Clean the collection bag every 2–3 days, or as often as told by your health care provider. To do this, take the following steps:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Disconnect the bag from the catheter and immediately attach a new bag to the catheter.
  • Empty the used bag completely.
  • Clean the used bag using one of the following methods:
    • Rinse the used bag with warm water and soap.
    • Fill the bag with water and add 1 tsp of vinegar. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then empty the bag.
  • Let the bag dry completely, and put it in a clean plastic bag before storing it.

Empty the large collection bag every 8 hours. Empty the small collection bag when it is about ⅔ full. To empty your large or small collection bag, take the following steps:

  • Always keep the bag below the level of the catheter. This keeps urine from flowing backwards into the catheter.
  • Hold the bag over the toilet or another container. Turn the valve (spigot) at the bottom of the bag to empty the urine.
    • Do not touch the opening of the spigot.
    • Do not let the opening touch the toilet or container.
  • Close the spigot tightly when the bag is empty.

What are some general tips?

  • Always wash your hands before and after caring for your catheter and collection bag. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Clean the catheter with soap and water as often as told by your health care provider.
  • Always make sure there are no twists or curls (kinks) in the catheter tube.
  • Always make sure there are no leaks in the catheter or collection bag.
  • Drink enough fluid to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.
  • Do not take baths, swim, or use a hot tub.

When should I seek medical care?

Seek medical care if:

  • You leak urine.
  • You have redness, swelling, or pain around your catheter opening.
  • You have fluid or blood coming from your catheter opening.
  • Your catheter opening feels warm to the touch.
  • You have pus or a bad smell coming from your catheter opening.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your urine flow slows down.
  • Your urine becomes cloudy or smelly.

When should I seek immediate medical care?

Seek immediate medical care if your catheter comes out, or if you have:

  • Nausea.
  • Back pain.
  • Difficulty changing your catheter.
  • Blood in your urine.
  • No urine flow for 1 hour.

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