Applying a Condom Catheter

Written by Amanda R. McDaniel, MS, BSN, RN
Amanda is a BSN/RN with a MS in Physiology and a BA in English. She worked as a medical writer in the pharmaceutical industry for 11 years before pursuing a career in nursing. She now works as a nurse on a NeuroTelemetry unit and continues to write and edit on a freelance basis. Amanda’s LinkedIn

Condom catheters are used for men who are incontinent. These catheters are external and are meant to be used short-term and changed daily.

  1. Gather your supplies:
    • Gloves
    • Washcloth, soap, and basin or disposable bath wipes
    • Towels
    • Absorbent pad
    • Condom catheter of appropriate size
    • Elastic tape or benzoin swabs (if needed)
    • Drainage or leg bag
  2. Ensure resident privacy by closing the door or curtain.
  3. Perform hand hygiene and don gloves.
  4. Arrange your supplies within easy reach. A bedside table covered in a towel is often most convenient.
  5. Raise the bed to a comfortable working height and help the resident to a supine position. The head of the bed can be at the angle most comfortable for the resident. Lower the side rail near you.
  6. Fold back the top linens to provide access to the groin. Offer a blanket to cover the resident’s upper body.
  7. Place the absorbent pad under the resident’s buttocks. If the resident is unable to assist by lifting their buttocks, logroll him.
  8. Perform perineal care with washcloths, soap, and the warm water from the basin or with bath wipes. Pat dry.
  9. Inspect the penis for signs of skin breakdown.
  10. If the manufacturer’s instructions call for it, swab the penis with benzoin or other skin prep solution. Swab from the tip to the base of the penis.
  11. If the resident is uncircumcised, make sure that the foreskin is in its normal position.
  12. Hold the penis in one hand. With the other, roll the condom catheter onto the penis. There should be 1 to 2 inches of space between the penis and the end of the condom.
  13. Secure the catheter in place:
    • If the catheter is self-adhering or a prep solution such as benzoin has been used, press the condom to the penis.
    • If the catheter is secured with elastic tape, attach the tape in a spiral around the penis. The ends of the tape should not touch. Use only the elastic tape that comes with the condom. Never use non-elastic tape.
  14. Ensure that the condom is not twisted.
  15. Attach the condom to the drainage tubing. There should be no dependent loops in the tubing leading to the drainage or leg bag.
  16. Remove the absorbent pad, raise the side rail, and lower the bed back to the lowest position. Arrange bedding so the resident is comfortable.
  17. Discard and clean supplies, remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.
  18. Document the procedure per institution or unit policy. Inform the nurse of any skin irritation per policy.


S. A. Sorrentino, & L. N. Remmert. (2012). Urinary elimination. In Mosby’s textbook for nursing assistants (8th ed., pp 421-423). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Elimination. (2014). In A. G. Perry, P. A. Potter, and W. R. Ostendorf (Eds), Clinical nursing skills & techniques (8th ed., pp. 834-835). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.