Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the indications for a chronic indwelling Foley catheter?


There are only a few indications for a chronic indwelling Foley catheter.

  • Urinary retention should be treated with chronic catheterization if it produces renal dysfunction, infections, or overflow incontinence and if it is not treatable with surgery, medications, and intermittent catheterization.
  • Decubitus ulcers, or skin irritations, whose healing is complicated by incontinence, may justify a catheter while wounds are healing.
  • Severe disability in a patient with a terminal illnesses or a condition such as severe rheumatoid arthritis in whom any movement is very painful may benefit form a catheter. Rarely, such as at the end of life, a catheter may be acceptable when used for patient or caregiver convenience.

    Reference: Kane RL, et al: Essentials of Clinical Geriatrics, 5th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2004. 


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