Home Infusion Therapy: Checking Your Supplies

A nurse will show you how to set up your home infusion system. Once you know what to do, treatment will become part of your daily routine. Use the checklist below to make sure you have all the things you need. If anything is missing or damaged, call the supply company right away.

With infusion therapy, medicines or fluids flow through a flexible tube (catheter) that’s placed in a vein or just under the skin—usually on your arm or chest.

? Bag or bottle

Your healthcare provider prescribes your medicine or fluid. It comes in a bag, or sometimes in a bottle. Be sure to store it as directed on the package.

? Pole or hook

The bag or bottle hangs on a pole or on a hook on the wall. Hanging the bag allows gravity to “feed” the medicine or fluid into the tubing.

? Tubing

Clear plastic tubing carries the medicine or fluid from the bag or bottle to the catheter in your arm or chest.

? Pump or clamp

A pump or clamp controls how fast the medicine or fluid flows through the tubing. You can adjust a clamp by hand. A pump is set for the correct flow. Never change the flow unless the healthcare provider or nurse tells you to do so.

? Needles and syringes

You insert the tubing into the catheter with a needle or a valve. Before and after treatment, you flush the catheter with a syringe full of saline solution.

? Dressing and tape

The catheter is covered with a sterile dressing to help prevent infection. Tape holds the dressing and the tubing in place.

? Alcohol swabs

To prevent bloodstream infections, your catheter opening should be cleaned with an antiseptic solution before using it to draw blood or give medicines.

? Sharps container

Used needles and syringes must be put in a sharps container. This helps prevent punctures and the spread of infection.