When connecting an IV or a syringe, there are two methods of connection using a needleless connector. First, you can manually push the IV Luer tip or attached cannula through the split diaphragm. The second option is to remove the IV Luer tip or connected sleeve and lock the Luer to the mechanical valve. Regardless of the method used, do not use actual needles.
Since research on the best use of needleless valves is still controversial, there are different views on policies and procedures regarding the best practices for proper use and disposal of needleless valves.
Replace the needleless connector
Needleless connectors increase the risk of blood infections associated with catheters. This risk is related to improper cleaning and flushing of the connector, intravenous infusion management operations, poor clamping methods, and infrequent replacement of the connector.
The CDC guidelines state that needleless connectors should be replaced at the same time interval (every 72-96 hours) of intravenous infusion devices or when blood is drawn. However, there are also healthcare providers who replace needleless connectors every 7 days.
Differences such as these may lead to an increased risk of catheter-related blood infections in hospitals in the United States and internationally. In addition, only about half of health care providers correctly report the correct steps for cleaning needleless connectors.
The lack of a unified policy on how to properly clean, maintain, and use needle-free connectors seems to be the only reason for the rapid increase in catheter-related blood infections. The best way to solve this problem is to first formulate a unified working strategy and procedures for connector cleaning, rinsing, use, material handling and disposal.
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