Lately I’ve seen increasing news about IVtherapy services on several social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Look it up using the hashtag #ivtherapy. You might be surprised to find many celebrities, athletes, models, general public and advertisements talking about getting IVtherapy, not because they are ill but for “out of the box” reasons like, hangover, dehydration, or a boost of high dose Vitamin C, nutritional supplements, cocktails and others. Many of these IVtherapy services are provided at places called “IV lounge” at a physician’s or naturopathic’s clinics, at the convenience of your own home or hotel room, at parties/events, or even at a mobile clinic.
As nurses and healthcare providers, we have seen the dramatic effects of infusing IV fluids to patients who are dehydrated, needing fluid replacement/supplement, those with symptoms resulting in electrolyte imbalance, or in other cases when taking oral intake of foods/fluids is not enough, and the list goes on. Using IV therapy in this manner is not a new nor a far fetched concept at all. But now, IV therapy is more than a therapeutic modality, it is a “business’ with an increasing amount of clinics or IV lounges opening up and offering IV Therapy services to the public not only in the US and Canada but also in other countries in Europe. These IV Therapy providers makes it easy for anyone to access IV services anytime, anywhere and it is important to note that usually, this is a cash/credit card business – no insurance billing.
As an infusion nurse, I totally get it, not against it, but very hesitant! I can also see where this service might be perceived as ‘encouraging” people to drink excessively and others may find it offensive. Many experts say this “out of the box” IV therapy remains controversial because of the lack of scientific evidence of the effectiveness of the treatment or the long term solution to health and well being. They are not addressing the underlying medical problem which is the excessive alcohol use or other contributing factors. Perhaps this is simply another celebrity craze that will simply fade away and forgotten.
Hey, so if you’re really into this, that’s cool but just a few things to think about..seriously!
1. Your medical history – tell them the truth, don’t hide anything that might cause problems even if you’re just getting plain IV saline. If they don’t ask, tell them, it should be part of their patient assessment.
2. IV insertion: While it is just a simple IV stick, it is still a opening in your skin and into your veins and blood stream. Make sure the technique and procedure used during venipuncture is in compliance with the standards of practice for infusion nursing and/or federal/regulatory standards. Take note of how your skin is prepped before the insertion. How many attempts were made before they got an IV catheter inserted? Did they put a sterile dressing over your IV insertion site or just plain tape? Were gloves worn during the IV insertion? Are they using IV safety devices? Yes, there are standards of practice for infusion nursing, check this out – INS SOP.
3. IV site: Many of the photos I have seen shows the IV inserted in the antecubital vein.NO!! Not a good place to insert an IV even for a short infusion!!! Here’s why – read this.
4. IV Fluids: where and who is mixing(preparing) your IV “cocktail”? Are they following the USP 797 guidelines for compounded sterile preparations and/or ASHP Guidelines? You don’t want any contaminants in that small IV “cocktail” bag so you want to make sure it is prepared according to standards and not over the sink, at a desk or by your chair. Are needles and syringes re-used? Are they re-using alcohol swabs till it’s dry?
5. Licensed Personnel: Many of these clinics are owned and operated by MDs, DOs, NDs or NPs. These professionals may be the ones who actually insert your IV access and administer your IV cocktail. In some clinics, they may use non-licensed personnel who are delegated with the responsibility of IV access and IV administration. Ask for their credentials. They could be non licensed assistive personnel who often introduce themselves as “nurses”.
6. Infusion Chairs: I have seen nice, colorful and comfortable chairs at these clinics and many of them are made of soft fabric materials. So what’s wrong with that? The material when disinfected after every patient use get wet and soggy. Not good for the next patient to use. Yes, the chairs and other surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected after every patient use.
7. Infusion Reactions: Say what? These are just plain IV Saline solutions with some vitamins!! It is not without a risk! Reactions and complications can happen. Are they prepared to handle any reactions or complications that may potential happen from IV fluid and medication administration?
Bottom line, IVtherapy services regardless of where it is provided, for what purpose, and who is providing the service have rules, regulations and standards of practice(SOP) to follow. Some blatantly ignore the rules, regulations/SOP, others pick and chose which to follow or others believe it doesn’t apply to their practice. In a casual environment like IV lounges, not knowing is not an excuse. The Infusion SOP, principles of aseptic technique and infection control practices applies, regardless of location.
I’m not endorsing any below. This is just to point out the popularity among celebs on their use of IV drips/vitamins from public posts and photos :
Neil Patrick Harris (click here)
Rihanna (click here)
Posted by Poppy Delevingne, English Model.Actress (click here for article)
Her sister, Cara Delevinge, IV drippin vitamins for a cold. (click here for article)