Intravenous literature: Keeling, P., Scales, K., Keeling, S. and Borthwick, M. (2010) Towards IV drug standardization in critical care. British Journal of Nursing. 19(19), p. Supplement 30 – 33.
Local infusion practice within critical care has evolved over time, and one example of this is the wide variation in concentrations of drug infusions within critical care. While there are many similarities between critical care units, there are also many differences. Often drug infusions are used outside their product licence and, because of the diversity in practice, manufacturers are unlikely to license multiple preparations of even the most commonly used infusions. Critical care nurses spend many hours every day preparing and administering intravenous infusions. Much time could be saved if the infusions were available as a ready-to-use solution. This would also reduce the risk of errors that occur during the preparation and administration of medication infusions. This article describes a national project to achieve consensus on the strengths of drug infusions used within UK critical care units. Having agreed on standard solutions, it is hoped that manufacturers will seek licences for commonly used infusions and work towards mass production of these products. Off the shelf, ready-to-use infusions of commonly used medications could become a reality.