Q: At our facility, we change Foley catheters once a month, with the change date written on the treatment record. Regulations lead me to believe they should not be changed routinely. Is that correct?

A: You are understanding correctly, as routinely changing Foley catheters is an outdated practice. Unfortunately, this outdated practice still exists in many facilities. I suggest you look at CAUTI bundle compliance, along with a rounding tool. 

Bundle (ABCDE) Checklist for Prevention of CAUTIs

Hand hygiene: It is the most important factor in preventing nosocomial infections.

• Aseptic catheter insertion procedure.

• Proper Foley catheter maintenance, education, and care by nursing staff.

• Foley catheter use surveillance and feedback

Urotoday.com also offers resources to help you with the ABCDEs of catheters and catheter care; it’s quite helpful. Perhaps your infection preventionist can add a rounding to check the condition of Foleys and identify maintenance needs. 

Ask a care team member if the Foley is still warranted or if a patient could be weaned. 

Get your team involved so that the numbers of catheters, their maintenance and the rounding needed to monitor them is a team approach and everyone is involved. 

Make it a team goal through your QAPI meetings to reduce the number of catheters if you think, or know, the number of Foley catheters is higher than normal for your census.

As a leader, when you see the need for a change to improve the quality of care and or life at your facility, it is your responsibility to start the ball rolling, no matter if a regulation is or is not involved. It’s the right thing to do.

Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA, is executive director of NADONA. Send her your resident care questions at [email protected].