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Best Practices for Changing IV Tubing

Best Practices for Changing IV Tubing

When it comes to administering IV fluids to patients, it is every healthcare provider’s goal to protect patients from the risks associated with IVs, with infection being a primary concern. Considering this goal, everything is done to give patients the best chance of recovery. Following best practices for changing IV tubing gives patients that chance for a quick and healthy recovery.


Proper sanitation is one of the most basic strategies for preventing infections but considering improper sanitation leads to an increase of healthcare-associated infections, it is still worth noting. IVs should be properly cleaned and then covered with sterile caps between uses. The ports should also be cleaned and “looping” should be avoided. This, along with regular handwashing, using proper PPE, and effective techniques in changing tubing should drastically reduce the risk of infection.

Site Selection

Being able to insert an IV correctly the first time drastically improves a patient’s experience and reduces the risk of bruising and unnecessary pain. This makes selecting a vein correctly an especially significant part of IV tubing best practices. Veins should be selected by touch to ensure that a vein is not too frail to be stuck. This may not help if a patient has low blood pressure. In this case, BP cuffs rather than tourniquets should be utilized.

If veins are still difficult to locate, imaging software such as ultrasound should be used to locate a proper vein; however, the use of this technology must be documented.

Two-Person Protocol

We are all prone to human error, and because of that, we must create an environment that minimizes human error as much as possible. Having two healthcare workers present when an IV is being changed is one way to ensure that protocol is being followed and will allow for extra support if something does go wrong. Having a second person present also helps ensure that the correct medication is being administered to a patient.

Frequency of IV-Changing

In many hospital settings, IV tubing is changed frequently for fear of a site being infected. Although this an understandable assumption, in most instances, patients are not at increased risk of infection if their IV is in for 96 hours rather than 72 hours. Patients with intermittent rather than continuous infusions can have their IVs changed more frequently—every 24 hours. However, if the tubing is contaminated or infected, then tubing should be changed immediately.

Best practices for changing IV tubing are the best way to ensure that patients have the best experience possible during the most traumatic of times. And if your practice is needing new, quality IV tubing, Med One Group is ready to supply your facility’s needs.