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Research grant to improve IV experiences for hospitalised children and babies

Published:28 April 2021

CQUniversity Head of College of Nursing and Midwifery Associate Professor Pauline Calleja

Insertion of a peripheral intravenous cannula (PIVC) is one of the most common invasive interventions in healthcare - but receiving the necessary IV for life-saving therapies, to receive medications and facilitate blood tests can be difficult for anyone, let alone children.

CQUniversity researcher Associate Professor Pauline Calleja is working to improve this experience and reduce negative side effects that can occur from incorrect catheter selection in children.

The initiative is supported by the Queensland Health Nursing and Midwifery Research Fellowships (NMRF) with $119,943 in funding given to complete the two-year project.

“While their insertion is vital for treatment administration, injuries and complications associated with PIVC use are an under-recognised patient safety issue,” Assoc. Prof Calleja explained.

“When intravenous (IV) catheters stop working, the medication meant to be delivered into the bloodstream pools into the tissue. This is known as an extravasation injury - a serious and common cause of patient harm that is especially common in paediatrics.

“Our previous research has demonstrated that PIVC dysfunction, including infiltration and extravasation, results in the premature failure of up to 40 per cent of PIVCs in paediatrics, with similar rates evident internationally.”

In Queensland tertiary hospitals, extravasations are in the top five cause of critical incidents in paediatrics, which according to Assoc. Prof Calleja can be reduced with nurses and midwives inserting the right IV at the beginning of treatment.

“Extravasation injuries in children are so common that for many staff they are no longer seen as a complication of treatment, but rather as an inevitable part of treatment.

“To change this perception, our interdisciplinary team will optimise and implement the newly released Michigan Appropriateness Guide for Intravenous Catheters in paediatrics (miniMAGIC), in sequential blocks across rural, remote and metropolitan sites to educate staff on safe IV selection and thereby reduce extravasations,” she said.

“Through the project, we will work to ensure that the innovative and evidence-driven miniMAGIC recommendations are applied across all levels of healthcare delivery.”

She explained how project outcomes will benefit Queenslanders significantly.

“Extravasation injuries in paediatrics result in substantial healthcare cost, including pain, prolonged hospitalisation and disability for the patient.

“Success of this project will be measured at implementation through compliance with miniMAGIC recommendations, but we will also assess patient outcomes through their extravasation injuries and other IV device-related harm, along with family and clinician satisfaction and health service level (i.e. cost),” Assoc. Prof Calleja said.