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Most children treated for pediatric cancer receive some medicines by IV. This means that the medicine is given into a vein as an intravenous (IV) injection or infusion. For some patients, IV medicines can be given at home. Because these medicines are given into the bloodstream, steps must be followed to reduce risk of infection. Before giving IV medications at home, caregivers should be trained in proper handwashing and aseptic technique, using the infusion device, and recognizing signs of an allergic reaction or infection. Some medicines can be harmful to caregivers, and extra care may be needed when handling and disposing of the medicine.
Usually, children who receive IV medicines at home during cancer treatment have a central venous catheter, but some medicines may be given by peripheral IV. IV medicines may be given at home by different methods. These include:
Below are general steps for giving IV medicines at home. Specific procedures depend on the type of medicine and device used. Always follow the instructions given by your care team.
NOTE: The process of preparing the medicine will vary depending on the medication. It could include adding a liquid solution such as sterile water to a powdered drug, withdrawing a dose from a vial, or adding medicine to an infusion bag.
IV pumps vary by manufacturer, but some problems can be solved by checking some simple glitches:
If these steps fail to resolve an issue, contact your care provider for further instructions.
Appropriate disposal of home IV supplies is important to ensure that the patient, caregivers, and others stay safe from infection and injury.
Reviewed: August 2018