Infusion Therapy

May 1, 2006 | Health System Risk Management


"Infusion therapy" is a broad term used to describe the administration of fluids, blood and blood products, parenteral nutrition, and medications. The most common type of infusion involves the use of venous access devices (VADs) and invasive lines for intravenous (IV) therapy. More than 90% of hospitalized patients receive IV therapy administered using venous lines containing hundreds of different types of parenteral solutions. Many patients also receive infusion therapy in nonhospital settings that include ambulatory clinics, continuing care facilities, and their homes. Infusion therapy has dramatically improved the ability to treat complex medical conditions; however, it also involves the risk of numerous complications and presents the potential for misuse and error.

Infusion therapy requires skilled personnel to insert and maintain invasive lines; operate infusion devices; administer fluids, medications, and other solutions; and educate patients about their infusions. Healthcare facilities must develop policies and procedures for infusions and implement protocols to ensure patient safety. This Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) covers the entire spectrum of infusion responsibilities. It should be completed by risk managers in collaboration with the nursing and medical staff, the pharmacy staff, IV team members, educators, and other pertinent clinical and support staff. ...

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