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Discharge Instructions: Administering IV Antibiotics

Your doctor prescribed home IV (intravenous) antibiotics for you. These are medications that help your body fight infection. They work best when given by IV. Before starting your IV care, always gather and inspect your supplies. And be sure to let your doctor know of any allergies you may have. You were shown how to administer your IV antibiotics in the hospital. This sheet helps you remember the steps when you’re at home.

The name of your IV antibiotic is   ____________________________________________

General Guidelines

  • Follow the fact sheet that comes with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Be aware of any warnings and side effects.

  • Check the medication label before starting an IV. Make sure your name, the medication name, and the dose are correct.

  • Don’t use medication with an expired date or with particles in it.

  • Don’t use an IV bag with cracks or tears.

  • Be sure all IV supplies are in sealed packets. If any sterile packets are open, throw away those supplies.

  • Store the antibiotic in a cool, dark place; refrigerate it, if the package instructs you to.

  • Before using the antibiotic, let it get close to room temperature. Don’t heat it.

  • Run the IV as often as prescribed.

  • Put all used needles and syringes in a sharps box. This is a puncture-proof container used for throwing away sharp objects. Be sure you get one with your supplies.

  • When the IV is done, put the used supplies in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and throw it in the trash.

IV Setup

A home care nurse or other healthcare provider will help you with your IV antibiotics. With time, you may be able to perform the procedure for yourself. Always do the following beforehand:

  • Wipe your worksite before setting up for IV care. Use alcohol or soap and water.

  • Put supplies on a clean cloth or on a fresh paper towel.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and liquid soap. Scrub for 1 minute. Wash between your fingers. Rinse well.

  • Dry your hands with a fresh paper towel and use it to turn off the water. Set the paper towel aside, and throw it away after the IV care is done.

  • Wipe all injection sites with alcohol prep before injection.

  • Hang the IV bag. The drip chamber should be at least 18 inches above your head.

  • Clean the catheter port with an alcohol wipe as often as directed.

  • Flush the catheter with saline or heparin as directed.

  • Attach the IV tubing to your catheter and secure with tape.

  • Start the medication as directed by your doctor.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your doctor or home health nurse right away if you have any of the following:

  • Rash or hives

  • Fever of 100.4°F of higher, or chills

  • Redness near the site where the catheter (tube) exits or at any spot along your catheter line

  • Swelling in your arm, neck, or chest near the catheter line

  • Drainage at the exit site

  • A catheter that slips or comes out

  • IV fluid that doesn’t flow well through the tubing

 

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