When administering IV drips and replacing old bags with new ones, there are some important things to remember. Making a mistake could result in an accidental puncture or tearing of the skin and cause serious health issues for your patient. So to prevent this from happening, follow these simple steps each time we change out our drip chambers:
Always Wash Your Hands Before the Procedure
Washing hands before and after IV administration is the most important way to prevent infections. So, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if you can’t wash them (although this isn’t as effective). And after you wash your hands, turn off the faucet with a paper towel so that you don’t touch any surfaces while using your elbow to open the door.
Make Sure the IV Site Is Dry Before Starting a New Tube
Before starting a new IV drip, ensure the previous one is dry. This can be done by wiping the skin with alcohol and then drying it with a towel.
Make Sure to Put a New Strip on After Every Bag Change
One of the most important tasks you will do as a nurse is to check the patient’s levels. An IV drip replaces fluid and electrolytes lost during surgery, illness or dehydration. And monitoring these levels ensures that the patient receives appropriate fluids to keep them healthy while they heal.
So, when filling an IV bag with fluids, you need to ensure enough room for all your other medications and supplements (if applicable). You also want to ensure that your patient doesn’t receive too much fluid at once, aS this could cause their blood pressure to drop dangerously low or even cause heart failure.
Make Sure You Have All the Supplies You Need in the Room
It’s not just a good idea to have the supplies on hand; it’s also important to ensure they’re all in working order. A checklist or other easy way to track what is needed and when it expires can help prevent any mistakes in this area. Keeping an extra set of supplies on hand so that if one item gets used up unexpectedly, another set will be readily available can also be beneficial.
Ensure It Is Above the Drip Chamber So No Air Can Enter the Line
As you are removing the old bag, always make sure that you check the drip chamber. If there is air in the line, it can cause serious problems. So, stop immediately if you see blood in the drip chamber, and call your nurse or doctor.
Never Let Go of the IV Tubing During a Bag Change
During a bag change, it’s important to never let go of the IV tubing. If the tubing is not firmly in place and an air pocket is formed, air could enter the line and travel through your patient’s bloodstream. This could result in an embolism—a blockage that prevents blood from flowing through the body. If this happens, you may need emergency surgery on the patient.
If blood does enter the IV chamber, stop and call your nurse or doctor immediately to prevent any problems. Stop and notify your healthcare provider if you see red or pink fluid coming from your insertion site. No matter how small the amount of blood that enters the IV line, it can cause a serious infection if not treated immediately. Besides, do not remove the needle or tubing until a nurse or doctor instructs you.
IV therapy is a safe and effective way to deliver patients’ medications, fluids and nutrients. However, it is important to always follow proper safety precautions when administering an IV to ensure no harm to the patient or the healthcare provider.