3. Avoid the “areas of flexion.”
You’ve likely seen an IV in someone’s wrist or envision it on the inside of your elbow. Turns out, those are places on your body where your IV can fail sooner, according to Price.
“I think it’s one thing when you get your blood drawn through the vein in your elbow considering it’s easy to access but imagine having a catheter in there every time you bend your arm. Every time you bend your elbow or move your wrist, it could cause a problem.”
If your IV is in one of those areas, you’re also looking at the chance of your IV medication not infusing correctly or extra pressure or movement being placed on the site.
4. A clean site is a happy (and safe) site.
Remember when your mother used to tell you to wash your hands when you came inside or left the bathroom? Same rules apply when it comes to handling your IV site.
Price says to make sure anyone that touches your IV cleans the site and the port with alcohol to kill any potential bacteria.
“What’s huge in hospitals is trying to prevent infections,” Price said. “Having the patient help make sure ports are being swabbed is just another critical part of care.”
Some hospitals, according to Price, may use disinfecting caps instead. The caps are colored caps that go over IV ports and provide disinfectant.
MORE: Read on Techniques to Prepare and Care for an IV.
“Not all hospitals use this,” Price said. “But you can still help the hospital and yourself maintain the integrity of the port and the site by making sure your ports have caps after the nurse is finished.”
Price says you should also ask your nurse or care team to put a fresh cap on your IV port once they have accessed it. Better safe than sorry.
But what if the cap falls off? Time for a new one, says Price.
5. “Take care of yourself” is not just good advice for life.
While your care team is ultimately in charge of your health during a hospital stay, consider yourself part of the team as well.