IV treatment at home
You or your child will be going home from the hospital soon. The health care provider has prescribed medicines or other treatments that you or your child need to take at home.
Home intravenous antibiotic therapy; Central venous catheter - home; Peripheral venous catheter - home; Port - home; PICC line - home; Infusion therapy - home; Home health care - IV treatment
IV Treatment at Home
IV (intravenous) means giving medicines or fluids through a needle or tube (catheter) that goes into a vein. The tube or catheter may be one of the following:
Home IV treatment is a way for you or your child to receive IV medicine without being in the hospital or going to a clinic.
Why You Need IV Medicines at Home?
You may need high doses of antibiotics or antibiotics that you cannot take by mouth.
Other IV treatments you may receive after you leave the hospital include:
You or your child may need total parenteral nutrition (TPN) after a hospital stay. TPN is a nutrition formula that is given through a vein.
You or your child may also need extra fluids through an IV.
Receiving Intravenous Treatments at Home
Often, home health care nurses will come to your home to give you the medicine. Sometimes, a family member, a friend, or you yourself can give the IV medicine.
The nurse will check to make sure the IV is working well and there are no signs of infection. Then the nurse will give the medicine or other fluid. It will be given in one of the following ways:
After you receive your medicine, the nurse will wait to see if you have any bad reactions. If you are fine, the nurse will leave your home.
Used needles need to be disposed of in a needle (sharps) container. Used IV tubing, bags, gloves, and other disposable supplies can go in a plastic bag and be put in the trash.
Problems to Watch For
Watch for these problems:
These rare problems may cause breathing or heart problems:
Most times, home health care nurses are available 24 hours a day. If there is a problem with the IV, you can call your home health care agency for help.
If the IV comes out of the vein:
When to Call Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if you or your child has any signs of infection, such as:
Call your local emergency number, such as 911, right away if you have:
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Gold HS, LaSalvia MT. Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 53.
Pong AL, Bradley JS. Outpatient intravenous antimicrobial therapy for serious infections. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 238.
Review Date: 1/23/2020
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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