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Indwelling medical device management

Indwelling medical devices such as urinary catheters, vascular access devices, endotracheal tubes, tracheostomies, enteral feeding tubes and wound drains can be associated with development of healthcare associated infection. Prevention of healthcare associated infection is a high priority patient safety issue covered under Standard 3 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

General recommendations

General recommendations include:

  • weigh risks, including infection risk, and benefits to ensure the indwelling medical device is best for the patient
  • insertion of indwelling medical devices should only be undertaken by healthcare workers trained and competent in the technique
  • use aseptic technique when inserting, indwelling medical devices
  • perform hand hygiene and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when accessing or manipulating indwelling medical devices
  • monitor patients regularly for any signs and symptoms of infection
  • perform dressing change for a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) that is secured with an adhesive securement device
  • provide patient education on the infection risks associated with the insertion of devices and importance of proper maintenance
  • remove the indwelling medical device as soon as it is no longer needed
  • document, in the patient’s records, all procedures involving the indwelling medical device.

Clinical topics in this section

Further information

For further information on the management of indwelling devices, contact SA Health's Infection Control Service on (08) 7425 7161.

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