Proper Catheter Placement for Occupational Therapy

Proper Catheter Placement for Occupational Therapy


When working with patients, especially mobilizing them, we take care to manage the foley. We unhook catheter tubing and place foley bags on DME or secure them properly as we mobilize them. However, just as important is how we secure them properly at the end of the session. Educate all staff, whether they be other OTs, PTs, nurses, imaging, etc.


After working with your patients, you should:

  1. Hang foley bag near the end of the bed, preferably located hung at spots where the manufacturer intends them to be.
  2. Foley bag should be lower than the patient level, but not touch the floor.
    • If it must touch the floor, place it inside a bin to avoid contamination.
  3. Keep tubing straight or looped, but not dependent or kinked.
    • Loops are okay as long as they are horizontal, e.g. flat on the bed.
    • NOT Dependent – the loop has to go up against gravity into the bag.
    • NOT Kinked – tubing forms almost a 90-degree bend, picture a drinking straw being kinked that prevents flow from the cup.
    • Tip: follow the tubing from the patient to the bag and imagine uring flowing through the tube, and fix the issue.
  4. Secure tubing to bedding sheets to help maintain proper positioning.
  5. Notify staff if the catheter bag is full or near full.
  6. This one is kind of self-explanatory, but can be often missed. If patient has a condom catheter, make sure it is still in place and did not come off. Condom catheters are notorious for doing this, even with light bed mobility and not getting out of bed.

(Image: BARD Medical) Click for full-size image.


Another role of OT is to educate our patients. If they are anticipated to be using foley at home or in the long term at their facility, you can educate patients about:

  • Proper positioning
  • Management & care
  • Infection prevention
  • Dressing techniques

Now you know the proper way of catheter placement for your occupational therapy treatments!





Jeff is a licensed occupational therapist and lead content creator for OT Dude. He covers all things occupational therapy as well as other topics including healthcare, wellness, mental health, technology, science, sociology, and philosophy. Buy me a Coffee on Venmo.