How do you irrigate a Foley catheter?


Quick Answer

Foley catheters are irrigated carefully by a trained nurse using sterilized equipment at a patient's bedside. Usually the procedure is carried out to ascertain how effectively the catheter is draining.

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Full Answer

To irrigate a Foley catheter, the following basic equipment is required:

  • Catheter tip syringe
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Sterile container
  • Irrigation solution
  • Pan
  • Sterile cap for drainage tube, or leg bag if reconnecting to the same system

Follow the steps below to complete the process:

  1. Prepare work space
  2. Wash hands thoroughly and assemble equipment by the patient, pouring approximately 2 ounces of irrigation solution into the sterile container.

  3. Prepare the catheter
  4. Place the pan at the open end of the catheter connection, carefully wiping the catheter and drainage connection with alcohol. Disengage the catheter from the drainage tubing and cap the tube. Place the catheter in the pan without letting the open end of the catheter touch it.

  5. Irrigate the catheter
  6. Draw 1 ounce of irrigation solution into the catheter tip syringe, being careful to keep the tip pointed down so as to avoid air bubbles. Place the tip of the syringe into the catheter and slowly apply consistent pressure. Never force the syringe or use suction. Finally, remove the syringe while keeping the open end of the catheter pinched closed.

  7. Drain and repeat
  8. Allow the urine to drain into the pan naturally. Then repeat the irrigation process with the second ounce of solution.

  9. Reconnect catheter
  10. Carefully clean the catheter connection with an alcohol wipe and reconnect it to the drainage tube. Finish by cleaning all equipment and washing hands.

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