In our most recent blog posts we have been focusing on the elderly. However, the elderly are not the only ones who may need caregivers. Surgical patients can also be in need of caregivers. Focusing specifically on surgical patients who have catheters, which are needed to drain the bladder when patients are not able to empty their own bladder, let’s discuss suprapubic. Caring properly for a catheter is very pivotal to ensure proper hygiene.

The Basics

So, what exactly is a suprapubic catheter? It is a thin hallow flexible tube which is inserted into the bladder through an incision in the lower abdomen. The tip of the catheter that is inserted to the bladder has a small balloon filled with water to keep the catheter from falling out. The tube is either connected to a drainage bag which collects the urine or it has a valve at the end in place of a bag. If there is a valve the urine remains in the bladder and can be drained into the toilet or receptacle. Typically, the first catheter needs to be changed after six to ten weeks then the catheter can be changed at home by a caregiver or a someone who has been properly taught every four to twelve weeks depending on the type of catheter used and varying for each individual’s situation. Those with drainage bags use day bags – which are used throughout the day and is held in place by a strap on the leg. Night bags are used while in bed overnight. These bags are larger and are also attached to the leg. Day and night bags typically need to be changed every five to seven days, however, to ensure proper hygiene they should be changed sooner rather than later (Harries).

Proper Care

Suprapubic catheters are less likely to develop infection which is one of the main reasons why they are used in the first place. However, not caring for them properly can lead to infections and other sorts of complications. It is always a good idea to keep a watchful eye on the skin where the catheter is inserted. Wash the area around the catheter daily with soap and water to keep from bacteria build up which can cause infection. When handling your catheter, such as changing it or emptying your drainage bag, be sure to wash your hands before and after. Drain the bag promptly when it is about half full. Keep hydrated in order to flush the kidneys and bladder of toxins which in turn can prevent urinary tract infections. When changing someone else’s catheter, it is extremely important to be careful as to not drop the bag or accidentally pull out the catheter. Catheters are delicate and need to be handled with the upmost care, if it’s dislodged this can cause risks for the patient. If the catheter comes out it must be replaced as quickly as possible because the insertion hole can close very fast. Additionally, if this occurs the patients runs the risk of needing to be hospitalized and it can be a very painful experience. Caregivers and anyone handling the catheter need to know where to properly place the catheter and anchor the bag so that it does not get dislodged from the body. The bag for the catheter should be anchored below the pelvis and regularly alternate between legs to anchor it.

Catheters can be made necessary after a surgery. Caring for different types of catheters can be tedious; however, our goal is to prevent infection. If they are needed it is important to know how to properly care for one. Educating ourselves is necessary for successful home-care of a suprapubic catheter patient.




Harries, Fran. “Having a Suprapubic Catheter Urinary Catheter.” Suprapubic Urinary Catheter, Feb. 2017, pp. 1–7., www.uhb.nhs.uk/Downloads/pdf/PiSupraPubicUrinaryCatheter.pdf.

Sobol, Jennifer. “Suprapubic Catheter Care.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 July 2017, medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000145.htm.

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