Co-administration of multiple intravenous medicines


This study explores ICU nurses’ views on the everyday practice surrounding co-administration of multiple IV medicines down the same lumen” Oduyale et al (2020).


BACKGROUND: Co-administration of multiple intravenous (IV) medicines down the same lumen of an IV catheter is often necessary in the intensive care unit (ICU) while ensuring medicine compatibility.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This study explores ICU nurses’ views on the everyday practice surrounding co-administration of multiple IV medicines down the same lumen.

DESIGN: Qualitative study using focus group interviews.

METHODS: Three focus groups were conducted with 20 ICU nurses across two hospitals in the Thames Valley Critical Care Network, England. Participants’ experience of co-administration down the same lumen and means of assessing compatibility were explored. All focus groups were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic analysis. Functional Resonance Analysis Method was used to provide a visual representation of the co-administration process.

RESULTS: Two key themes were identified as essential during the process of co-administration, namely, venous access and resources. Most nurses described insufficient venous access and lack of compatibility data for commonly used medicines (eg, analgesics and antibiotics) as particular challenges. Strategies such as obtaining additional venous access, prioritizing infusions, and swapping line of infusion were used to manage IV administration problems where medicines were incompatible, or of unknown or variable compatibility.

CONCLUSIONS: Nurses use several workarounds to manage commonly encountered medication compatibility problems that may lead to delays in therapy. Organizations should review and tailor compatibility resources towards commonly administered medicines using an interdisciplinary approach. Developing a clinical decision-making pathway to minimise variability while promoting safe co-administration practice should be prioritised.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study highlights several ways ICU nurses are able to manage challenges associated with co-administration and the need for the development of a more robust and comprehensive compatibility resource that is relevant to everyday practice through collaboration between nurses and pharmacists.

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Full Text


Oduyale, M.S., Patel, N., Borthwick, M. and Claus, S. (2020) Co-administration of multiple intravenous medicines: Intensive care nurses’ views and perspectives. Nursing in Critical Care. January 16th. doi: 10.1111/nicc.12497. .


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