Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Suprapubic Catheter

You are going home with a suprapubic catheter in place. This tube is placed directly into the bladder through your abdomen to drain urine from your bladder. You were shown how to care for your catheter in the hospital. This sheet will help remind you of those steps and guidelines when you are at home.

Home care

  • Shower as necessary. 

  • Change your dressing every day. Change the dressing more often if it falls off, becomes dirty, or has absorbed a lot of drainage.

Gather your supplies

  • Tape

  • Soap

  • Wash cloth

  • Wastebasket and plastic bag

  • Dressing sponges (4" x 4") that are cut or split halfway into the middle

Remove the dressing and check for problems

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after all catheter care.

  • Gently remove the old dressing if you have one.

    • Don’t pull on the tube.

    • Check the dressing for drainage. Notice whether anything looks unusual or smells bad.

    • Place your dressing in the plastic bag and throw it away in the wastebasket.

  • Now look at the place where the catheter leaves your body (exit site).

    • Note any swelling, bleeding, irritation, unusual or smelly drainage.

    • Also check for any sores next to the exit site. Sores form around the exit site if there is too much pressure from the tube on the skin.

Clean the area

  • Wash the area around the catheter exit site gently with soap and water.

  • Gently pat the area dry

  • Don't use powders, creams, or sprays near the exit site.

  • Place a split 4" x 4" sponge around the catheter. Tape it in place.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment or as advised.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Catheter that falls out, or is clogged or feels clogged

  • Stitches that fall out

  • Urine leaking around catheter

  • Urine that is cloudy, bloody, or smells bad

  • No urine drainage

  • Bladder that feels full or painful

  • Rash, itching, redness, swelling, or drainage at the catheter site

  • Fever above 100.4°F (38.°C) or shaking chills