Intravenous Therapy AKA IV
Intravenous therapy allows medications and fluids to be administered to patients through the veins. Intravenous access is obtained by inserting a small catheter in a vein. The catheter is the access port to the circulatory system. It can be used to administer medications or obtain blood samples for laboratory studies.
There are certain steps that must be considered before intravenous (IV) administration occurs. The first and most important step is gathering all of the necessary equipment. Once the equipment is assembled a qualified nurse, paramedic, or physician will determine which type of fluid to administer to the patient, if any. It is common for no fluid to be used as well. If no fluid will be administered, the end of the catheter is capped with a heparin port.
If fluid is administered to the patient, the qualified health personnel must ensure that the correct fluid is prepared and that the fluid is not expired or discolored. Any discolored, expired or compromised fluid should not be used and should be discarded. Most expiration dates can be found on the front of the fluid bag inside the plastic protective cover. Fluid bags are stored within protective coverings. To remove a bag from the protective covering, tear or cut the protective cover. It is important to be careful not to cut or puncture the inner fluid bag. Multiple ports are located on the inferior end of the fluid bag. One port allows medication to be added to the fluid and the other port is used for connecting the administration set.