Procedural and documentation variations in intravenous infusion administration

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To address this we investigated the prevalence of procedural and documentation deviations in IV infusion administration and explored variability in policy and practice across different hospital trusts” Furniss et al (2018).

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Procedural and documentation deviations relating to intravenous (IV) infusion administration can have important safety consequences. However, research on such deviations is limited. To address this we investigated the prevalence of procedural and documentation deviations in IV infusion administration and explored variability in policy and practice across different hospital trusts.

METHODS: We conducted a mixed methods study. This involved observations of deviations from local policy including quantitative and qualitative data, and focus groups with clinical staff to explore the causes and contexts of deviations. The observations were conducted across five clinical areas (general medicine, general surgery, critical care, paediatrics and oncology day care) in 16 National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England. All infusions being administered at the time of data collection were included. Deviation rates for procedural and documentation requirements were compared between trusts. Local data collectors and other relevant stakeholders attended focus groups at each trust. Policy details and reasons for deviations were discussed.

RESULTS: At least one procedural or documentation deviation was observed in 961 of 2008 IV infusions (deviation rate 47.9%; 95% confidence interval 45.5-49.8%). Deviation rates at individual trusts ranged from 9.9 to 100% of infusions, with considerable variation in the prevalence of different types of deviation. Focus groups revealed lack of policy awareness, ambiguous policies, safety and practicality concerns, different organisational priorities, and wide variation in policies and practice relating to prescribing and administration of IV flushes and double-checking.

CONCLUSIONS: Deviation rates and procedural and documentation requirements varied considerably between hospital trusts. Our findings reveal areas where local policy and practice do not align. Some policies may be impractical and lack utility. We suggest clearer evidence-based standardisation and local procedures that are contextually practical to address these issues.

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Reference:

Furniss, D., Lyons, I., Franklin, B.D., Mayer, A., Chumbley, G., Wei, L., Cox, A.L., Vos, J., Galal-Edeen, G. and Blandford, A. (2018) Procedural and documentation variations in intravenous infusion administration: a mixed methods study of policy and practice across 16 hospital trusts in England. BMC Health Services Research. 18(1), p.270.

doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-3025-x.

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