Caring for your dialysis catheter fact sheet
Your dialysis catheter is used for exchanging blood between yourself and the dialysis machine. Taking good care of your catheter helps make it last longer and will reduce your risk of infection.
Follow your nurses' instructions on how to care for your catheter and use the information below as a reminder
What to do
- Ensure your catheter dressing is intact, clean and dry at all times.
- Your dressing must be changed at least every 7 days and each time the dressing appears loose or dirty.
- 3 days after the catheter has been put in, you can shower with a waterproof cover over the catheter dressing. Should your dressing become wet whilst washing, it iwll need to be changed as soon as possible by renal unit staff
- If you have fever and/or chills, present to Emergency Department IMMEDIATELY as this may mean that you have a very serious infection.
- Phone the renal unit as soon as possible if there is:
- Discharge from your catheter exit site
- Thoroughly wash your hands before touching your catheter and dressing.
- Check your catheter for any damage such as cracks or holes.
- If your catheter moves around or becomes caught in clothing use tape to attach it to your skin
- Make sure that your catheter is well protected when playing contact sports.
What not to do
- Do not touch, pull, scratch or pinch your catheter or the catheter dressing.
- Do not use sharp objects near your catheter.
- Do not shower or bath in the first three days after your catheter is put in.
- Do not swim until receiving advice from your healthcare team
- Do not let anyone access your catheter for any purpose other than dialysis (other than a medical emergency)
- Do not allow anyone to touch your catheter without washing their hands, wearing gloves, and a plastic apron.
- Do not place or apply any pressure to your catheter (such as when holding or carrying an object).