Keeping intravenous catheters (IVs) working is the focus of a new researchprogram aimed at informing best practice in hospitals.
Supported by $100,000 in unrestricted grant funding from Griffith, the AustralianCollege of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) and medical technology company BD(Becton, Dickinson and Company), the research is being undertaken by theGriffith Health Institute.“Dislodgement, occlusion (blocking) or infiltration (fluids into surrounding tissue)accounts for the failure of approximately 30 — 40 per cent of IVs,” said researchleader Dr Samantha Keogh from the Institute’s National Centre for ResearchExcellence in Nursing (NCREN)

IV flushing is a major strategy

“These failures have implications for patient comfort, length of treatment andescalating healthcare costs.“IV flushing is a major strategy used to maintain the viability of IVs, however thereis little evidence to inform the best flushing practice. This research will aim toremedy that.”

Dr Keogh said that studies on IV flushing conducted at NCREN so farhave shownthat pre-filled flush syringes were associated with reduced preparation time, with apotential to reduce infection control risks and promote adherence torecommended practice.“Our observational studies have also highlighted the wide variation in IV flushingpractice and diverse understanding of related infection control measures,” said DrKeogh.As part of this research, a state-wide on-line survey of IV flushing practiceamongst Queensland nurses is proposed for 2013.“In addition to what goes into IVs, we need to monitor what comes out of IVs andthe Centre is also benchmarking blood sampling practice across critical-caresettings.“Excessive or poor sampling practice can contribute to anaemia in the critically illpatient.While blood sampling to inform clinical decision making is vital, strategies have tobe developed to minimise excessive or inappropriate blood loss.

Long history of research at BD

“BD has a long history of supporting research and development that improvessafety and quality in intravenous therapy. The research conducted by NCREN willbe breaking new ground and it’s exciting to see this happening in Australia,” saidHilary Crilly, Director of Health Economics and Outcomes Research atBD in Sydney.“This research is aimed at highlighting quality and safety issues with a view toconducting further research that will inform clinical practice,” said Dr Keogh.