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If you take a urine sample from a catheter bag, how long can you let it sit on a shelf before giving it to lab? I ask this because someone pointed out that you should get a sample before emptying the bag just in case you need it.
Som tests require the sample to be put on ice immediately after it's obtained from the bladder (or the sample port of the Foley). For really good explanations of these and other urine tests, see the classic Joyce Lefever Kee's Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests with Nursing Implications. Great book, I have it on my desk right now.
please don't collect a sample from the foley bag unless it is a new bag. Unless you want horribly inaccurate results, that is. The sooner the better, specimens don't last long at room temp. In home care, if I stayed within a two hour or so window I was generally OK. Any longer than that and you get the "possible contamination or delayed transport to lab" result.
Agree that the sample should be from the port, not the bag. Unless someone is in renal failure or really dehydrated, it should be very easy to get a urine sample from someone with a foley whenever the need arrises. Your question does remind me of one of my less proud moments, though. A urine culture was ordered on a confused patient overnight as she had become febrile. I saw the order before I got report and remember thinking, "It will take a miracle to get a decent sample without straight cathing." I got report from the new nurse who had the patient overnight and asked about the sample. "Oh, yeah, I helped her do a clean catch and she was able to but I forgot to send it and saw the sample sitting on the bathroom and hour later and figured it wasn't good after sitting that long, so I threw it out. She's been incontinent since then so I wasn't able to get it." I said, "It's a culture! It's going to sit for 3 days in lab trying to grow bacteria!" Like I said, not my proudest moment.