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Tips On How To Flush A Foley Catheter

Tips On How To Flush A Foley Catheter
Kevin Cleary

A catheter can be important to patients recovering from surgery or urinary problems such as incontinence or urethral blockages. One particular type is a Foley catheter, an indwelling catheter inserted through the urethra into the bladder. It typically has a balloon inflated to keep it in place. Flushing a catheter means it is free from debris and infections. Catheter flushing may sound complicated, but we have everything you need to know about how to flush a Foley catheter. 

While the procedure is pretty straightforward, it must be done with great care and attention to detail.

How To Flush A Foley Catheter

You should work with your doctor or nurse to determine your needed supplies. They may also have some tips to make flushing a catheter simpler, easier, and less messy. Some of the common supplies used are listed below - 

1. Supplies for irrigation of Foley catheter

Supplies needed for irrigating a catheter properly: 



2. Steps for flushing a Foley Catheter 

While this is a pretty straightforward procedure, doing things in the correct order is vitally important. There are roughly ten steps to flush a Foley catheter properly: 

  1. Wash hands with soap and water: Clean hands can minimize bacteria, reducing infection risk
  2. Prepare supplies in advance: Being organized can help avoid skipping steps. 
  3. Communicate with the patient: Explain the procedure and actions to keep the patient informed. 
  4. Fill syringe: Using a fresh catheter tip syringe, insert the tip into a bottle of saline and draw out the correct amount of fluid. Tap the syringe to remove air bubbles. 
  5. Wash hands again and wear medical gloves: Safety, safety, safety! Wash again and wear fresh medical gloves just in case you touch certain items that might not be sterile. 
  6. Prep patient and tray: Prepare your patient by having them lie on their back with their legs bent and apart. Position tray and possibly towels to collect any fluid or urine. 
  7. Clean catheter tube: Clean the drainage tube connection with an alcohol wipe for approximately 15 seconds. Then disconnect the drainage tube from the catheter. 
  8. Drain urine with a syringe: Use an empty catheter syringe to draw any urine in the catheter line by inserting the needle with the plunger and slowly drawing outward. 
  9. Flush with a saline solution: Insert a syringe with sterile saline into the opening of the catheter tube. Slowly push the plunger to inject saline into the catheter line. Stop if resistance is felt! Once done, draw the plunger out to pull as much fluid out of the catheter line as possible. 
  10. Clean tubing, reattach drainage tube, and check for urine flow: Re-wipe catheter connections and reconnect drainage tube. At this time, visually inspect if urine is flowing properly. Success! 

When Should You Flush A Catheter 

Now you know how to flush a foley catheter, but when should you do it? The general rule of thumb is, be proactive and flush your catheter daily. You may need to do this multiple times as a preventative measure to ensure the catheter is clear and your bladder is clean. Situations that may require irrigation include: 

Irrigating a Foley catheter cleans the bladder, mucus, or blood clots and is essential to do before inserting the catheter and to ensure maintenance. While it may seem like a complicated procedure, flushing a foley catheter will become simpler and easier once you develop a routine (and stick to it). Like anything else, repetition will make it second nature!! Be sure to visit HPFY for all your urological needs.

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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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