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Administering intravenous therapy in patients' homes

02 February 2019
Volume 24 · Issue 2


Intravenous therapy in patients' homes is a relatively new procedure in the community nursing practice. This article looks at the practicalities of administering home IV therapy from the following aspects: hand hygiene; how to adjust IV therapy practices to the home environment; care of the IV access site including appropriate dressings; identifying and reacting to problems; maintaining a safe environment when performing IV therapy in a patient's home; anaphylaxis and how to identify and manage it; and the need for training to perform home IV therapy.

Intravenous (IV) therapy in patients' homes is a relatively new procedure in community nursing. Most services have only started offering it in the last 10 years, although it was first piloted back in 1974 (O'Hanlon et al, 2008).

Among the many benefits of administering IV therapy in the home, it is well known that fewer resources are needed to nurse a patient in their own home. The BBC (2017) reports that the average daily cost of an NHS bed is £400. In 2 years, Guys and Thomas' Home IV service saved 5000 hospital bed days, and saved the Trust about £1.5 million (Dean, 2014). A Cochrane study also found that IV therapy at home is just as safe as IV therapy in hospital (Balaguer and González de Dios, 2012), although it also found that there was not a lot of research in this area. Very few nursing articles have been published about home IV therapy, and the majority of them are about setting up a service (Lees and Sonkor, 2006; O'Hanlon et al, 2008; Regan and Morgan, 2015).

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