Color-coded IV lines with labels to help differentiate multiple lines and avoid errors

Hospitals continue to develop new and improved communications strategies so doctors, nurses and technicians can provide the best patient care. In some hospital wards speed and accuracy are essential - especially the critical care unit / ICU.

In the ICU nurses must be prepared to manage various complicated devices and multiple medicines delivered through assorted IV catheters, IV pumps and IV ports. ColorSafe IV Lines help nurses quickly and easily differentiate between multiple clear IV lines.

A common example seen in recent years is hospital patient color-coded wristbands / armbands that communicate patient status. Many hospitals have standardized band colors to convey information such as: Do Not Resuscitate; Allergy; Fall Risk, etc. Wristbands are useful but must always be read carefully, along with all other labels in hospitals.

In October 2004, the American Society of Anesthesiologists adopted a formal "Statement on the Labeling of Pharmaceuticals for Use in Anesthesiology," supporting the use of five cumulative methods of enhancing the impact of labeling on patient safety, consistent with standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM). The ASA further stated, "Color-coding can help with drug classification but prominently printing the drug's name, concentration and volume or total contents is the most important method of ensuring that users will accurately identify the specific medications."

The ASTM color-coding system for syringes containing medications used during an anesthetic identifies the class of drug (induction agents, muscle relaxants, vasopressors, etc.). Many anesthesiologists believe that color-coding on anesthesia syringes and ampoules may lower the number of errors occurring in operating rooms. The American Society of Anesthesiologists and JCHAO, along with other agencies, are combining strategies to reduce errors with high-risk medications. There are ongoing studies.

Healthcare experts agree that medication errors too often cause patient injury, extend a patient's hospital stay, and sometimes result in a patient's death, in sum costing hospitals billions of dollars.

ColorSafe IV Lines' color-coded intravenous lines and IV labels help nurses quickly differentiate multiple intravenous lines. ColorSafe IV Lines are used in combination with a corresponding wrap-around, color-coded label provided with each IV tubing set. Color-coded IV lines with color-coded labels reduce the potential for medication mix-ups.

It is common that patients in the ER, ICU, or cardiac care unit have multiple IV lines and multiple insertion sites to administer medication. To avoid errors nurses must be ready to rapidly identify which medications are being delivered into which injection sites.

All nurses must make a visual connection between the IV-fluid bags and the injection site. Some ICU nurses resort to using handwritten white labels to differentiate virtually identical clear IV lines.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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