What type of care is required for the catheter, bag(s), and patient during the time the catheter is worn?

  1. He came home with 2 cath bags–a big one for most of the time and overnight, and a leg bag, for getting dressed.  The bag is supposed to be kept below the bladder.  My husband just carried the big one around with him and then hooked it on to whatever was near him when he sat down.  At night, he hooked it to the mattress frame.
  2. He only put on the leg bag when he got up to take his daily walk. He ended up having an allergic reaction to the latex leg bands and it raised welts on his thigh.  We used a lot of powder after he showered each day.
  3. We were concerned about spilling the urine when changing the bags, so he would shower with the big bag on, then would change it out to the small leg bag, while still in the shower.  That way, any spillage could be rinsed away.  I always helped with the changing of the small bag back to the big bag, when he came home.  He has big, clumsy fingers, and it was easier for me.
  4. I figured out a better way of dealing with the catheter bag than pinning it to my pants and having its weight pulling my pants down.  I took two belts and attached them to make a big loop.  I looped the catheter  bag handle through the belts and wore it like a bandolier.  They teased me about my macho looking bandito ammo belt running diagonally across my chest.  The belt loop sat on my left shoulder and ran down into my right pants leg where it held the bag. It was way more comfy this and more discreet than pinning it to my pants leg.
  5. You should also have Vaseline and some sterile swabs, like big q-tips for him to apply the Vaseline to the head of the penis and the catheter tube after washing both with soapy water every night. Keeps down the chance of infection and keeps the tube moving smoothly in the top of the penis.
  6. Some people are more comfortable wearing medical-style gloves when working with the cath bags.  I never had a problem with spilling or getting it on me.
  7. Silk/nylon/rayon boxer shorts for the period you have the catheter.
  8. For the first several nights, my wife got up once during the night to check on how full the bag was. She would empty it into a bucket and dump and rinse it in the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to get out of bed to do it.  She was afraid that I would be even less stable on my feet at night and might have a fall or something trying to get to the john.
  10. I used very loose fitting boxer shorts, so there would be room for pads. I didn’t leak badly enough (around the catheter) to use diapers.
  11. Catheter bags – wash/rinse with vinegar. They smell less – just swish it around.  Hang to dry.
  12. A five-gallon plastic bucket is very useful at night as a receptacle for the large night bag. The bucket may become your constant companion around the house. Get a square one if you don’t already have something else.
  13. Purchase a Velcro catheter strap (available at most medical supply stores about $6.00). The hospital tapes the catheter to your thigh. When he gets home replace the tape with the strap… it’s a lot more comfortable and repositionable. Easily removed during a shower and needless to say will not pull any leg hairs out as tape does,
  14. Your husband will need Bacitracin (topical antibiotic ointment) or similar for twice daily cleaning of the catheter tube where it enters the penis to prevent infections. Basically, as he moves around an inch or so of the plastic tubing slides in and out of the penis, this area and the tip of the penis itself should be washed and the Bacitracin applied a couple of times a day while wearing the catheter.
  15. Use a plastic coat hanger to support the catheter bag when he’s sleeping – slip it in between the mattress and box spring.  Get a small plastic adhesive hook to install at knee level in the shower to hang the bag on while showering.
  16. You will need something to hang the catheter bag on. I used a chair with a bathrobe belt on it.
  17. Use a plastic coat hanger stuck between the mattress and box spring to hang the bag from or just place it in the bucket on the floor.
  18. You should have a spare night bag and a leg bag for your catheter, 4×4 gauze sponges, adhesive tape, safety pins, adhesive supports for the catheter tube, a small measuring cup, and disposable gloves.
  19. A small shopping bag, for him to hand carry his urine bag, for those times when he wants to walk around the house or hospital without the urine bag strapped to his leg.
  20. Take a plastic clothes hanger and wedge it between the mattress and box spring with only the hook extended.  This makes a perfect place to hang the night bag.
  21. I also found the larger bags drained better than the leg bags so I kept the larger one on most of the time at home. You’ll probably need some small alcohol pads to clean the connections when you change them.
  22. Don’t waste time using the small bag they give you. They fill up too fast because they want you drinking lots of liquids.
  23. I used a small amount of K-Y jelly where the tube entered the penis to keep things sliding.
  24. A soft bathrobe belt makes a shoulder strap to suspend the big bag if you prefer it to the “walking” bag.
  25. At night fasten the bag to the top edge of your mattress.(I just used a big safety pin) This allows the total length of the cath tube for movement, turning over, etc while in bed.
  26. I was able to sleep on my side and/or back with the catheter. He will probably have a clip for it tapped to his thigh. I hope then shave the hair before they put it on, alcohol helps take it off later.
  27. Antibiotic ointment/lubricant (Polysporin, for example) for where catheter exits (some had this supplied by their hospital). Some recommend a water-based lubricant such as KY Jelly but that tends to dry out quickly. Get gauze 4X4 pads to apply ointment. There has been some debate about the best fluid to use. You want something slick, long lasting and certain not to damage the tube. It would be nice if it were also antibacterial. I used Polysporin and Erythromycin with no problem.
  28. Alcohol swabs to clean the catheter at the tip of the penis (single use wipes designed for cleaning the skin before an injection).
  29. I never liked that little leg bag I was given.  The only times I used it was to come home from the hospital and to go back and have the catheter removed.  The rest of the time, I used the large “night” bag and just carried it around – even on my mile walks.
  30. Velcro Foley straps – the walking bag can slip down your leg and pull on the tube.
  31. Some of the little plastic, stick-on hooks to put in the shower etc., for a place to hang the bag or simply the pail, placed outside the tub.