Home Infusion Therapy: Preventing Infection

Infusion therapy is a safe way to take medicines or fluids that can’t be taken by mouth. A nurse will show you how to set up your home infusion system. Treatment will become part of your daily routine. To prevent infection, wash your hands before and after treatment. Also, keep your setup area clean and check the infusion site on your arm or chest daily.

Closeup of hands in sink with running water. Hands are covered with soap suds.

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 (infusion site).

Washing your hands

Tips for thorough hand-washing:

  • Use liquid soap and lather well for 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails.

  • Rinse with warm water, keeping your fingers pointed down.

  • Use a paper towel to dry your hands and to turn off the faucet.

Setting up

Tips for setting up:

  • Wipe off the work surface. Then cover it with a clean towel. Use the same setup area each time.

  • Lay out everything you need.

Caring for the infusion site

Tips for infusion site care:

  • Follow the nurse’s directions for cleaning the infusion site and flushing the catheter before and after treatment. Ask the nurse if you should use sterile gloves.

  • Check the site daily for signs of infection, soreness or redness at the catheter site or fever, and report these signs to your healthcare provider.

  • Keep the site dry. Ask the nurse how to bathe safely.