“The post-insertion care of VADs is an essential component of a comprehensive strategy to prevent complications” McGuire (2015).
McGuire, R. (2015) Assessing standards of vascular access device care. British Journal of Nursing. 24(Suppl 8), p.S29-35.
Vascular access devices (VADs) are essential in health care as they provide vital access for treatment including the infusion of medication, fluids, blood products and nutritional supplements. However, their invasive nature predisposes patients to potential complications, primarily bloodstream infections. This article examines the current standards of VAD care and assesses compliance with current guidelines (national and trust policy) in one hospital setting utilising a practice audit. The audit was conducted in a 500-bed district general hospital over 6 non-consecutive week days. The medical division where the audit took place had 13 wards with 288 beds. A total of 120 VADs were audited, averaging n=9.2 per ward (with a range of 4-18 on each ward). The results demonstrated a collective non-compliance rate of 48%. Although overall compliance was 52%, a poor standard of care was highlighted across the division for all components of the care elements. The post-insertion care of VADs is an essential component of a comprehensive strategy to prevent complications. Consequently, initiatives such as audit, education and feedback should be used in an effort to improve practice and maintain optimal care.
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