The AAMI Foundation has released the second of its infusion therapy safety “quick guides”?Improving the Safe Use of Multiple IV Infusions. This free resource aims to provide actionable strategies to reduce the hazards associated with multiple intravenous (IV) infusion lines.

Infusion errors and pump failures can and have caused serious harm, and even death, to patients. Over a five-year period, more than 56,000 adverse events and 710 deaths associated with infusion devices were reported to the U.S. FDA—more than for any other medical technology. While the vast majority of those events were linked to problems with the device functionality, the use of multiple IV infusions to administer medication, nutrients, and other fluids, either sequentially or concurrently, introduces another layer of complexity, which increases the risk of medication errors.

“Over the long term, improvements in the design of infusion systems are needed to solve some of the problems associated with administering multiple IV infusions to individual patients. However, over the short term, supporting clinicians with targeted strategies can reduce inherent hazards and improve safety,” according to the report.

The quick guide includes evidence-based recommendations that cover:

  • Identifying an IV infusion
  • Setting up and programming multiple continuous IV infusions
  • Managing shared infusion volume
  • Setting up secondary intermittent IV infusions
  • Administering IV pump boluses

“This guide provides recommendations for the safe use of multiple infusion lines that are backed by thorough research. It is truly a ‘must read’ for all nurse educators and front-line clinicians,” says Marilyn Neder Flack, executive director of the AAMI Foundation and AAMI’s senior vice president for patient safety initiatives.

The first guide in this series, Optimizing Patient Outcomes: Questions Senior Hospital Leaders Should Ask about Infusion Therapy Safety, focused on the proper use of smart infusion pump technology, which can improve patient care and reduce costs. The subsequent guides will be published throughout 2017 and will cover improving compliance with the use of drug libraries and reducing nonactionable infusion pump alarms.