Improving surgical intravenous fluid management

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“A multifaceted educational intervention, involving teaching sessions with handouts, pocket-sized cards and posters visible on the wards, has brought improvements to both the prescription and administration of i.v. fluids in patients managed by colorectal surgeons.” Gnanasampanthan et al (2014).

Reference:

Gnanasampanthan, V., Porten, L. and Bissett, I. (2014) Improving surgical intravenous fluid management: a controlled educational study. ANZ Journal of Surgery. July 2nd. [epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: This study aims to measure whether the introduction of a multifaceted, evidence-based, educational intervention will improve both intravenous (i.v.) fluids prescribed by doctors and administrated by nurses.

METHODS: A daily baseline audit of i.v. fluid prescription and administration for colorectal inpatients was carried out at two Auckland teaching hospitals over 4 weeks. The educational intervention was then administered at hospital 1, while at hospital 2 nurses and junior doctors were merely informed of the audit. The educational intervention included a lecture, multiple posters around the wards and pocket i.v. fluid protocols for junior doctors. Data collection continued for a further 4 weeks at both sites.

RESULTS: The study included 513 days of i.v. fluids received by 109 patients at the two sites. At hospital 1 following the intervention, there was an improvement in the number of correct prescriptions of maintenance i.v. fluids from 21% to 62% (P < 0.001). There were also improvements in the number of patients who received correct administration of i.v. maintenance fluids from 26% to 57% (P < 0.001), gastric loss i.v. replacement from 61% to 93% (P < 0.001) and bowel loss i.v. replacement fluids from 59% to 85% (P = 0.004). None of these measures improved at hospital 2.

CONCLUSION: At baseline, both prescription and administration of i.v. fluids were poor. A multifaceted educational intervention, involving teaching sessions with handouts, pocket-sized cards and posters visible on the wards, has brought improvements to both the prescription and administration of i.v. fluids in patients managed by colorectal surgeons.

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