Ensuring patients receive comprehensive education about their vascular access device and prescribed infusion therapy regimen is crucial for minimizing complications during and after medical procedures. The potential risks hinge on a variety of factors, including patient demographics, vascular anatomy, health conditions, clinical symptoms, the specific procedure, and the proficiency of the attending clinician and patient. It is the collective influence of these elements that determines the likelihood of complications.
By imparting thorough knowledge to patients and caregivers, healthcare providers play a pivotal role in mitigating the spectrum of potential complications. These complications may range from bleeding and hematomas to arrhythmias, pseudoaneurysms, and allergic reactions.
The Infusion Nurses Society Practice guidelines offer essential recommendations* to both patients and caregivers, aiming to reduce the risks associated with catheterization-related complications. Addressing critical aspects of education, these guidelines empower individuals to actively participate in their medical treatment and enhance overall patient safety:
- Development of Educational Plan: Establishing specific, achievable, and measurable goals for infusion therapy, involving the patient/caregiver in goal development, validating knowledge and skills, and communicating progress during transitions to other healthcare settings.
- Individualized Teaching Methods: Selecting teaching methods based on age, developmental and cognitive levels, health literacy, cultural influences, and language preferences. Addressing health literacy issues, considering home infusion impact on caregivers, and ensuring accessible and usable educational resources.
- Evaluation of Learning Outcomes: Employing methods such as demonstration/return demonstration, verbal feedback, and assessing feelings and beliefs to evaluate patient/caregiver learning outcomes.
- Comprehensive Patient Education: Providing education on various aspects of infusion therapy, including information about risks, benefits, alternative treatment options, care of vascular access devices (VADs), infection prevention, and self-monitoring for complications. Tailoring additional education for outpatients and those receiving home infusion therapy.
- Continuous Evaluation and Support: Continuously evaluating patient/caregiver comprehension and performance at the beginning and periodically throughout infusion therapy. Providing ongoing support, considering the use of technology, printed materials, and a bundled approach to enhance self-paced learning.
For outpatients and individuals undergoing home infusion therapy, further education should encompass:
a. Safe storage, maintenance, and proper disposal of solutions, supplies, and equipment.
b. Handling hazardous medications, including protocols for managing potential spills.
c. Correct procedures for infusion administration.
d. Use and troubleshooting of infusion administration tools such as electronic pumps.
e. Adjusting to life with an access device, including understanding activity limitations and safeguarding the device during daily tasks.
It’s recommended to assess patient and caregiver comprehension and skills at the initiation of infusion therapy and periodically thereafter at specific intervals, the doctor or nurse will offer specific guidance on how to care for your PICC Line to minimize the risk of infection. If you observe any signs near the device such as redness, swelling, tenderness, or drainage, contact your doctor or nurse promptly, as these signs could indicate an infection has developed.
*For a complete list of recommendations refer to INS.
Gorski LA, Hadaway L, Hagle ME, et al. (2021). Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice 8th. INS. https://aspirus.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/Library/Infusion_Therapy_Standards_of_Practice,_8th.1.pdf
Care After Your Procedure. WakeMed. https://www.wakemed.org/care-and-services/heart-vascular-care/cardiology/interventional-cardiology/cardiac-catheterization/preparing-for-a-cath-procedure/care-after-your-procedure
Caring for patients post cardiac catheterisation. HealthTimes. (2023, November 04). https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/catheterisation/18/guidance/nc1/caring-for-patients-post-cardiac-catheterisation/1921/