Giving Medications by an IV Line

Document created by tfreiberg Employee on Dec 27, 2016Last modified by mcunningham on May 3, 2018
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Medications can be given through an established IV line, decreasing the need for multiple IV sticks and more rapid response to the medication.


Supplies you will need

  • Alcohol swab
  • Gloves
  • 2 syringes each containing ______ mL of normal saline solution.
  • 1 syringe containing ________ heparin solution (if needed).
  • 1 syringe containing medication: _____________________________________  


What to do

  1. Wash hands. Explain to the patient what you are going to do.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Cleanse the catheter end with the alcohol swab.
  4. Attach the syringe directly to catheter and pull back on the plunger slightly.
  5. Inject normal saline solution to flush the IV line.
  6. Check patient to ensure no pain on flushing.
  7. Check for swelling at needle site when flushing.
  8. Insert medication tubing/syringe and infuse at rate as instructed by your nurse.
  9. Following drug or solution administration, using the second syringe of normal saline, slowly inject the saline to flush the medication through the line.
  10. Insert the heparin solution slowly to flush reservoir of saline if instructed by your nurse.
  11. Remove syringe while still pushing plunger to ensure positive pressure (to create a seal). Keeping pressure on the plunger prevents backup of blood into the catheter. If there is a clamp on the line, clamp off the line before removing the syringe.
  12. Dispose of syringe in a puncture-resistant container.
  13. Remove gloves.
  14. Wash hands.


Special instructions

If resistance is met, device should not be flushed or medications given. Call the hospice nurse.


Additional instructions from your team

Call the hospice team with any signs of infection such as fever, redness at the IV site.


Adapted from: The Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice, Tenth Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.