How to change a suprapubic catheter effectively
Intended for healthcare professionals
how to series    

How to change a suprapubic catheter effectively

Brett Craig Dawson Urology clinical nurse specialist, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To learn about the procedure for changing a suprapubic catheter

  • To recognise the potential complications associated with suprapubic catheter changes

  • To understand what is involved in the care of a suprapubic catheter

This ‘How to’ article explains how to change a suprapubic catheter in a safe, effective and supportive manner. Nurses undertaking this procedure must ensure they have the knowledge and skills to do so and work within the limits of their competence. The patient – and/or their carer where appropriate – should be involved in shared decision-making about the care of their suprapubic catheter and any catheter changes. This will increase the patient’s confidence and acceptance of the suprapubic catheter and its function.

• A suprapubic catheter is inserted through the lower abdominal wall, above the pubic bone and below the navel, and into the bladder.

• A suprapubic catheter change is an aseptic procedure that is undertaken to reduce the risk of infection at the catheter site and in the tract, which has direct access to the bladder.

• Nurses undertaking a suprapubic catheter change need to be skilled in removing and replacing the catheter without delay to avoid closure of the tract.

Reflective activity

‘How to’ articles can help to update your practice and ensure it remains evidence-based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

• How this article might enhance your practice when changing a suprapubic catheter.

• How you could use this information to educate nursing students or your colleagues on the appropriate method for changing a suprapubic catheter.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11766

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Dawson BC (2021) How to change a suprapubic catheter effectively. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11766


Please note that information provided by Nursing Standard is not sufficient to make the reader competent to perform the task. All clinical skills should be formally assessed according to policy and procedures. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure their practice remains up to date and reflects the latest evidence

Published online: 16 August 2021

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