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A Guide to Change a Catheter Bag at Home

Has an indwelling catheter been placed in you or someone close to you? If so then it is essential to know how to care for the catheter and properly change the catheter bagUnlike the catheter, which is changed once a month and requires specialized personnel to insert, changing the catheter bag is done regularly and can be done by you at home. Each time the inside of the bag is filled, it is replaced with a new one, or if it has a tap, it is emptied, cleaned and reconnected to the catheter. It is very important that the change of the catheter bag is performed correctly as it is part of your daily life and needs attention in order to avoid possible complications such as urinary tract infections, blockage, etc.

How Do I Change the Catheter Bag at Home? ​

Before starting the catheter bag change at home you will need to gather some materials:

  1. A new catheter bag (urine collector) or a multi-purpose bag for overnight use, such as the Medicare 2L urine collector with valve.
  2. Gauzes measuring 10x10 or a clean face towel.
  3. An antiseptic solution like Dr. Schumacher Aseptoman Med Hand Antiseptic.

Step 1: In general, before and after any handling of the indwelling catheter or urine collector, make sure your hands are clean. Before starting the process of changing the catheter bag, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Step 2: Rinse and dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel and use the same to turn off the tap cap. If using hand sanitizer, apply a sufficient amount to cover the surface of your hands and rub well.

Step 3:Before disconnecting the catheter from the urine collection tube, roll up the catheter tube with your hand or use a clothespin to prevent urine leakage when disconnecting the bag.

Step 4: Then place a piece of gauze under the catheter connector or a face towel to catch any leakage. Clean the area around where the tubing connects to the catheter with a gauze pad and antiseptic solution. To remove the catheter bag, gently pull the bag tubing out of the catheter and disconnect the bag from the leg straps or base.

Step 5: Then empty the urine from the bag into the toilet or into a container that you use exclusively for this purpose. Make sure the mouth of the catheter bag does not touch the toilet or waste container. If it comes into contact with any area, clean with a gauze soaked in an antiseptic solution.

Care should also be taken not to touch the end of the new tube elsewhere when changing the catheter bag. Connect the new catheter bag to the catheter opening and place it in the appropriate base. Make sure that the bag of the catheter is below the level of the bladder so that there is no reflux of urine!

When replacing the catheter bag, make sure the catheter is firmly attached to the bag so that it does not open or leak. Check all connection points and straighten any bends or kinks in the pipe.

In between steps don't forget to wash your hands as well as when you finish changing the catheter bag.

How Many Times Should the Catheter Bag Change

The catheter bag is changed at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The number of changes depends on the type of bag you have (closed type or with a tap) and the amount of urine. The closed-type catheter bag must be replaced every time 3/4 of the volume is filled, while in the catheter bag with a tap, you simply empty the contents. To prevent infections, tap bags should be replaced every three days.

The catheter bag should be changed every time the urine volume exceeds ⅔ of the bag volume (800 mL). Also, if you wear a leg bag it is recommended to empty it every 2-3 hours so that the weight of the urine does not pull on the catheter.

At night, replace the catheter bag with an overnight bag (2000mL). The night bag can be attached to a stand next to your bed or to a leg bag if you have one. Each morning, disconnect the overnight bag and empty the contents into the toilet or into a container.

Catheter Bag Replacement FAQs

Why is urine not draining into the catheter bag (urine collector)?

The reasons for urine not draining into the catheter bag vary. First, make sure the catheter bag is below the level of your bladder. Do not lie or sit on the catheter tube. Check the catheter and tube drain on a regular basis to ensure that the hose is not pinched or tangled.

If you detach the catheter, it will stop draining or you will notice a leak. Leakage can be caused by many things: voiding, bladder spasms, or a blockage. In all cases, inform your doctor. ​

Where do I dispose of the used catheter bag? ​

After changing the catheter bag and emptying the contents into the toilet, place the used urine collector in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the waste bin.

How do I clean the overnight catheter bag? ​

After changing the catheter bag you can simply clean the inside of it with white vinegar and cold water (proportion ⅓). After filling the inside of the bag with the liquid, renovate it and leave it for fifteen minutes. Then, simply pour out the water with the vinegar and let it dry. Another alternative is to use bleach dissolved in water (1/10 ratio). Make sure that these cleaning methods are compatible with the manufacturer's instructions. Externally, you can clean the catheter bag with an antiseptic solution or antiseptic wipes.

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