In almost any medical facility you are employed at after CNA training, you will work with patients who are unable to move from their bed. They may be suffering from illness or injury that prevents them from moving when they want to, and, because of this, they will be unable to get up to use the bathroom. These patients are often given catheters, and it will be your job after CNA training to ensure this piece of medical equipment is clean and performs correctly.
To review what you learned during CNA training, let’s discuss for a moment what a catheter is. This piece of equipment is a rubber or plastic tube that is inserted into the bladder by a nurse using a structure similar to a balloon. One end of the tube resides within the bladder and the other is attached to a bag, known as a catheter bag, and is used to collect the patient’s urine. This tube must be cleaned every day, each time you perform perineal care after CNA training or as directed, and it is your job to ensure it is done correctly.
In case it has been a while since you completed CNA training, or you are getting ready to perform this important skill during your CNA training examination, here is a short review of the steps you need to take to ensure your patients’ catheters are clean.
Cleaning Patients’ Catheters After CNA Training
- Wash your hands thoroughly and put on gloves before touching the catheter, the patient, or the catheter bag to prevent the spread of infection. Then, greet your patient and inform them that you will be cleaning their perineal area, as well as their catheter tubing. Let them know you will also be emptying their catheter bag, measuring their output, and recording that output. If they have any questions, answer them. It is important your patient feels comfortable with the procedure before you begin.
- Gather your supplies, as you learned during CNA training. You will need two basins of warm water, tested by the patient, several towels and washcloths, alcohol wipes, and a linen protector sheet or additional towels.
- Place the linen protect sheet or additional towels under the patient’s buttocks. This will prevent the sheets below them from becoming wet or becoming contaminated with microorganisms on the catheter.
- As you learned in CNA training, grip the catheter securely near the patient’s meatus. Do not tug, as you could remove the catheter accidentally. Starting as close to the patient’s meatus as possible, wipe the tube with a clean, wet wash cloth with soap. Make sure this is done in a single direction and for at least four inches; this will prevent reintroducing germs to the patient’s perineal region. Use a different, and clean, washcloth to rinse the catheter in the same manner, and then use a clean dry towel to dry the area.
- Perform your perineal care. If you are unsure how to do so, read this CNA training skills step-by-step guide.
- Check the catheter tubing thoroughly. Look for any air bubbles, blockages, blood, or damages that may be present. If you see any problems, report them immediately to your charge nurse.
- Place a paper towel on the floor under the catheter and place a graduate cylinder on top of the paper towel. Open the catheter bag’s spigot and drain the contents into the catheter bag, as you learned in CNA training, being careful to avoid touching the spigot to the graduate cylinder. When the bag is empty, use an alcohol wipe to clean the spigot, and then place it back correctly.
- Cover the graduated cylinder with a paper towel before moving to the bathroom to measure the contents. Once you have determined the output, record it, dispose of the urine, and clean or dispose of the graduated cylinder.
- Remove any linens you used to protect the patient’s sheets, and then, as you learned in CNA training, check to make sure the patient’s sheets are dry. If they have been contaminated, replace them with clean ones immediately.
- Make sure your patient is comfortable and has his or her call light, take care any supplies you have left out, remove your glove, and wash your hands.
Caring for Patients After CNA Training
After CNA training, it is essential for you to know how to care for patients who must use a catheter to ensure infection control. Make sure to look for any signs of inflammation and infection while you are performing catheter care and perineal care, and report any problems to your nurse immediately after CNA training.