Care of Reusable Catheters
Disclaimer: The repeated use of a single-use catheter as described below has not been approved by the FDA. NAFC has provided the information below for education purposes only. Take into consideration your health insurance coverage and reimbursement plan, as this may differ among individuals. Final decisions as to the number of uses of a single-use catheter should be made between you the patient and your healthcare provider.
While catheters are not FDA approved to be reused, many individuals successfully practice “clean intermittent catheterization.” After catheterizing, the catheter is washed well with anti-bacterial liquid soap without colorant, deodorant, or perfume and rinsed thoroughly. The excess water should be shaken out of the catheter. Place it on a clean, dry paper towel or hang the catheter over a hook or towel rack if it is a long catheter to completely dry before re-use.
All reusable, cleaned, and dried catheters can be stored in a clean zip lock storage bag (with a tiny slit for air flow). The basin used for soaking and cleaning catheters must be used only for that purpose and cleaned well after each use.
Catheters must be discarded when the catheter becomes hard, brittle, or cracked, or if the color of the catheter changes. Medicare and others have approved coverage of single-use catheters. Therefore, re-use of single use catheters is highly discouraged especially in those at risk of recurrent UTIs.