Routinely inspect the PIVC and insertion site, for signs of complications that can lead to device failure. This should happen at least once per shift (or per eight hours) and when accessing the device, or if the patient raises any concerns about it. More frequent inspection may be required for some patients, or according to local policy, for example for paediatric patients. In particular, check:
- For signs of pain, swelling or redness at the insertion site, by visual inspection through the transparent dressing and gentle palpation through the dressing
- The condition of the patient’s veins, and whether they have become hardened or thrombosed
- For signs of localised or systemic infection; if either are confirmed, report as per local policy in an incident management system
- For leakage of fluid from the insertion site, signs of occlusion, infiltration or extravasation
- Whether the PIVC remains appropriately dressed and secured.
As part of the review, ask the patient questions to check whether they are tolerating their PIVC, and whether they understand why it is needed and the treatment they are having. Explain the reasons for checking the device, and the signs and symptoms you are looking for that might suggest that problems are developing.
Ask the patient if they have any concerns associated with the use of their PIVC and deal with these concerns. Check that the patient knows what signs and symptoms to report, including local site complications such as pain, redness, swelling, skin irritation or fever. Advise about the importance of telling their clinician if they think complications are developing so that they can be addressed immediately.
Use standard precautions, including aseptic technique, when accessing the PIVC or performing site care to help reduce the risk of PIVC-associated infections. Decontaminate needleless connectors before and after access with 70% alcohol or other solution recommended in current evidence-based or best-practice guidelines, and allow to fully air dry.
Flush the PIVC using a solution recommended in current evidence-based or best-practice guidelines and at intervals according to local policy, to maintain line patency, reduce the risk of blockage, and prevent mixing of incompatible medicines or fluids.