Caring Web

Care of an Indwelling Urinary Foley Catheter

A Foley Catheter is a tube that is inserted into the bladder from the outside of the urethra. Care for an indwelling urinary Foley catheter can be confusing.

The tube of the catheter goes into the urethra and then extends into the bladder. The kidneys then drain urine into the bladder by way of the ureters and can then further drain urine outside the body by way of the Foley catheter. The following is a list of questions with answers (A) that other caregivers in your situation have found helpful in caring for a loved one with stroke.

Is my catheter going to fall out?

A. The catheter is held in the bladder by a balloon that is inflated with a sterile saline solution once it is placed in the bladder to prevent it from coming out. Prior to the catheter being removed, the sterile solution will be removed to deflate the balloon.

  • The Foley catheter will not fall out unless pulled firmly in which there will be extreme pain and possibly bleeding.

How do I prevent a urinary infection?

A. There are many ways to prevent infection:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after providing any catheter care.  Before any contact with someone else’s genital or urine you should place clean disposable gloves on prior to contact.Hand washing
  • Daily, clean the catheter and the skin around it with warm soap and water.  Also after every bowel movement.
  • Keep the catheter drainage bag below the level of the person’s waist to prevent back flow or the urine going back into the bladder. 
  • Have the person wear cotton underwear to allow proper airflow.
  • Have the person drink plenty of fluid in order to keep urine flowing out of bladder.
  • Avoid lotion or powders to the catheter area.
  • Check catheter tubing, looking for kinks.
  • Tape excess slack of exterior catheter, for men on upper thigh or lower abdomen and for women to upper thigh, to decrease pulling.
  • Females remember to wipe from front to back.

How do I drain urine from the Foley catheter drainage bag?

  • As with any care for the catheter, start by washing your hands with soap and warm water.  If you are going to be emptying someone else’s urine bag you should place clean disposable gloves on prior to contact. 
  • Place a container to catch the urine under the tube on the bag.  Remove the cap. 
  • Un-clamp the tube on the bag and allow urine to drain into container.  Re-clamp and replace cap. 
  • Flush the urine down the toilet. 
  • Remove gloves and wash hands with soap and warm water.

When should I contact a health care professional about the catheter?

A. You should contact your health care professional when the person with the Foley catheter has:

  • No urine draining from tubing.
  • A change in urine color. (Pink tinged, dark brown)
  • Change in urine smell.
  • A fever greater than 100°F (37.8°C).
  • Swelling, redness, pain, or irritation at entry site.

Additional Information:

The following are some websites to provide you additional information regarding caring for a urinary catheter:


Cash, J.C., & Glass, C.A. (2011). Family practice guideline (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Care of a Foley catheter. (2012). Retrieved on from

Care of a Foley catheter at home. (2012) Retrieved from

Developed in 2012 by Jenn DelVero, RN BSN, at the University of Toledo for the Caring~Web©

Last Updated: 6/27/22