..if we see veins like we had X-ray vision and insert IV catheters with one stick in patients with difficult to find veins?? Well, now there are several devices that can make the “venipuncture” experience much more tolerable, improves patient satisfaction and eliminates sticking patient’s veins blindly. They are called “vein-detecting” devices that use different types of technology and design that allow you to find and locate veins for IV start or blood draw.
But before you get too excited about getting one, think about the following:
- Technology: Not all vein detecting devices are created equal. It is best to know and understand the technology the device uses and how it works.
- Devices that use laser and/or infrared technology
- Devices that Illuminates tissue using LED lights
- Devices that use Doppler effect
2. Ask questions like:
- Will it work on all skin types and pigmentation?
- Do I need to turn the room lights off to use the device?
- Is it safe and does it produce heat that the patient might feel on their skin?
- Is it hands free so the nurse can perform the procedure while visualizing the vein?
- Battery operated and what is the battery life?
- Ease of cleaning/disinfection in between patient use.
3. Device Portability: what good would a vein locating device be if it’s mounted on the wall or takes up so much space in the patient’s room? In my opinion, the device will have to go where I go to start an IV and not the other way around where I have to take the patient where the device is.
3. User friendly: Keep it SIMPLE so nurses will use it and make sure to involve the end users when evaluating these devices prior to purchase.
4. Cost: technology is not cheap so the cost of these devices might be more than the cost of a tourniquet and vein palpation. Though the benefits and improved patient satisfaction could be enough justification.
So when the good old fashion finger tip manual vein palpation fails, these devices are great especially for starting IVs in patients with difficult to find veins, pediatrics and older adults, and for other purposes that require locating veins.
Note: It is by design that I did not mention any brand names of these devices. If you are interested in any of these – google “vein detecting devices” and you will find them.