If you are a nurse, it is extremely important to start with feeling the veins of your patient. You may not see if the vein is good for IV insertion, but if you palpate it for a while, you will feel if it is full. Always choose the largest one, especially if a large bore catheter is required.
If you need to deal with an elderly patient, go for a deeper vein as for sure it will not move so easily and will be more stable. Additionally, the straightest vein will be the safest option too. If you can feel that your patient’s arms are cold, try to warm them up a little bit. Use a blanket or a hot pack as it will make the veins more visible.
When you assess your patient’s veins, ask him or her to open and close the fist as it will quickly improve venous refill. However, the moment before the insertion the arm and hand should be relaxed. If there is such an option, use a visualization device. It is a great idea for patients who have difficult veins.
This small visualization device will illuminate vein pathways. It makes it very easy for a nurse to detect the insertion site then. These devices are usually very small and you can easily keep such a thing in your pocket.
Also, every nurse will say that there are days when nothing goes the way we want to. If as a nurse you experience such a bad day, it is better to ask for help one of your colleagues than lead to a blown vein and your patient’s suffering.
If you are a patient, you need to be aware that the success of the IV procedure also depends on you in some extent. If you keep fidgeting or feel very tense, it will be more difficult for a nurse to do the procedure smoothly.
Moreover, if you know that your veins are fragile or difficult to locate, or you have already experienced a blown vein, tell your nurse about it as it will make her more careful and focused on the task. Nevertheless, if a blown vein happens to you, do not panic as it is rarely serious.
In most cases a blown vein is only a minor injury, which will quickly cure. Deal with it as with any other bruise, which means that compressing the area and applying an ice pack will solve the problem in most cases.
Do not forget about applying a topical antibacterial solution to prevent infection. Even if there is some complication to your blown vein, a minor surgical procedure will fix it and guarantee full recovery. A surgery, however, is hardly ever required.