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How to Set Up a PCA Pump

How to Set Up a PCA Pump

By Dani Vaughan

PCA pumps are one of the many different types of infusion pumps on the market today. These pumps are commonly used in hospitals and clinics to help manage pain in their patients. Since pain medication is one of the most common drug types used in PCA pumps, ensuring the safety of the patient is extremely important.

Many of the pumps have safety features built into the pump to prevent the patient from receiving too much medication. Some even feature a lock and key to ensure only healthcare staff have access to the medication syringe. Depending on the PCA pump, limits are set for certain medications to make sure the patient does not receive an unsafe amount per dose.

A Patient Controlled Analgesia pump module allows for the delivery of medication to a patient and also features the ability for the patient to receive bolus doses. At the press of a button, the medication is dosed at pre-determined levels to help the patient. Traditionally, PCA pumps have been used to help manage discomfort or pain in patients. Examples of applications include patients recovering from surgery, those suffering from chronic pain, or healing from a pain-inducing situation.

As a healthcare provider, the setup of a PCA pump with the correct programming is vital to ensure patient care is optimal. Below are the steps to program your PCA pump as shown in our YouTube training video for the popular Alaris PCA Pump Module.

PCA Setup

  1. Attach the module to the Alaris 8015 PCU via the IUI Connectors.
  2. Use the key to open the PCA module and load the desired syringe with the medication.
  3. The Alaris PCU can be loaded with a drug library already programmed to the needs of the facility. This has safety features in place to ensure proper dosage to the patients.
  4. Power on the PCU and follow the prompts on the screen to set it up for your specific patient.
  5. Program the infusion on the PCA module by following the prompts on the PCU by selecting the correct syringe, medication, and dosage amounts.
  6. The dose request cord is attached to the PCA module. The patient is able to use it to have a dose delivered to them through their IV. Once a dose has be administered, another cannot be given until the appropriate amount of time has passed to where it is safe to receive another.
  7. The PCU is able to record the patient history to show total amount infused, total demands, and total delivered doses.

Check out the video below for training on the popular Alaris 8120 PCA unit. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about these pumps, visit our customized PCA Pumps page.