The Guide To Infusion Related Complications Phlebitis In Hospice

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.

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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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