The Guide To Infusion Related Complications Phlebitis In Hospice

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In this article, we will review the signs and symptoms, intervention, and preventative measures of phlebitis in hospice patients.

Phlebitis Definition

Inflammation of vein: inflammation of the wall of a vein.

Signs and Symptoms of Phlebitis

  • Typically a slow onset of a tender red area along the superficial veins on the skin. A long, thin red area may be seen as the inflammation follows a superficial vein
  • This area may feel hard, warm, and tender. The skin around the vein may be itchy and swollen
  • The area may begin to throb or burn
  • If an infection is present, symptoms may include redness, fever, pain, swelling, or breakdown of the skin.


  • Remove the catheter at the first sign of tenderness, redness, or inflammation
  • Apply warm compresses to the area
  • Elevate extremity
  • Place new catheter site in opposite extremity if possible
  • Monitor for signs of infection (fever, swelling, tenderness, redness, increased WBC count)
  • NSAIDS if not contraindicated for patient

Preventive Measures

  • Maintain aseptic technique when using or manipulating iv system
  • Close monitoring of infusion site
  • Determine compatibility of solutions or medications before use
  • Securing catheter to prevent in-and-out movement
  • Frequent catheter changes and site rotations
  • Use of filters for particulate matter


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