Kids Health Info

Infusor pumps - Care at home

  • Information for children going home who need treatment using an infusor pump. This fact sheet includes how to care for the pump while at home and what to look out for.

    An infusor pump delivers medication such as antibiotics through an intravenous (IV) line into a big vein in the body. Infusor pumps are used when IV treatments are still required, but your child is well enough to be treated at home.

    Care at home

    • Keep the pump, line and IV site clean and dry.
    • Keep the pump at room temperature (away from extreme heat or cold).
    • Ensure the line is secured to your child and out of reach (make sure it can’t be fiddled with).
    • Keep the line and pump away from pets that might chew or play with it.
    • Ensure the line is never kinked or dangling and at risk of catching on things.

    Bathing

    Do not submerge the infusor pump under water and do not get it wet - keep it out of the shower, bath and pool. When your child is showering, keep the pump outside the stream of water by placing it on a bench or chair. If bathing, sit the pump outside of the bath. 

    Sleeping

    Keep the infusor pump at the same level as the site where it enters the body. You can put it on its side next to your child’s pillow, ensuring the line is not kinked or pulling. Make sure the pump is on top of the bed covers. Putting it underneath the covers can make the device too warm.

    Exercise

    Your child can exercise with the infusor pump, but make sure it stays clean and dry, stays at room temperature (no extreme heat or cold) and that the line or pump does not get damaged. Rough or contact sport is not advised.

    Travel

    While travelling in the car, place the infusor pump next to your child, ensuring the line is not kinked or pulling. The infusor pump is safe to take on aeroplanes with pressurised cabins. You need to ensure there is someone available at your destination/on the plane who is trained to change the pump (depending on length of time travelling).

    How do I know if it’s working?

    Infusor pump figure 1The balloon will slowly get smaller over time. There are markings on the bottle that can act as a guide to indicate whether or not the balloon is deflating. The speed at which the balloon will deflate changes in extreme temperature conditions, so avoid these where possible.

      You should check the infusor four hours after it has been connected to make sure the balloon has moved down one solid line (level 5 to level 4) as indicated in the diagram. Continue checking the infusor every six to eight hours to ensure that the balloon gets smaller. You should continue these checks each time the infusor has been changed. If you think the balloon is not deflating, call Wallaby Ward (the RCH’s Hospital in the Home program) on 9345 4770 immediately.

    Possible problems

    The tape that holds the line comes off from the skin

    Ensure that the infusor pump is being supported (not pulling at the IV line). Apply a new piece of medical tape to hold the line on the skin. Medical tape can usually be purchased from your closest supermarket or pharmacy.

    The line gets disconnected from the pump

    Close the clamp on your IV line. Keep the line and pump as clean as possible (avoid letting it touch anything) and call Wallaby Ward.

    The balloon is not deflating

    Check that the line is not kinked. Make sure the infusor pump is not too far below the height of the IV site. Check that the line is attached to the IV site. If it is disconnected, call Wallaby Ward. 

    The pump is leaking

    Clamp the IV line, place the pump in a plastic bag and call Wallaby Ward. If some of the medication leaks onto the skin, wash the area with soap and water. 

    The infusor is cracked

    Clamp the line and call Wallaby Ward.  

    When to call for help

    Contact Wallaby Ward if:

    • Your child develops a rash
    • There is increasing redness, pain or discharge where the IV enters the body
    • The expiry date on the label has passed
    • The balloon inside the infusor has burst
    • The label has the incorrect patient name and/or medication
    • The balloon does not appear to be deflating

    In an emergency, call '000' or take your child to the nearest emergency department if your child shows signs of any of the following:

    • Difficult or noisy breathing
    • Any bleeding (especially from a central venous catheter)
    • Swelling of the tongue
    • Swelling or tightness in the throat
    • Difficulty talking or a hoarse voice
    • A wheeze or persistent cough
    • Collapse or loss of consciousness
    • Paleness or floppiness (young children)

    Once your child has been given appropriate medical attention, please call Wallaby Ward on 9345 4770 (available 24 hours) and let the team know.

    Key points to remember

    • Infusor pumps deliver medication through an IV line.
    • The pump is usually changed every 12-24 hours by a nurse or other trained professional.
    • Monitor the infusor pump to check it is deflating and ensure there are no problems with the pump or your child’s IV line.
    • If you have any issues or concerns about the pump or your child, contact the Wallaby ward or if urgent, your nearest emergency department.

    More information

    • Kids Health Info fact sheet: Infusor pumps
    • The Royal Children's Hospital Wallaby Ward (Hospital in the Home program) (03) 9345 4770 (available 24 hours)
    • The Royal Children's Hospital Platypus Ward (03) 9345 5432

    References

    Patient Guide Baxter Infusor Range. Retrieved 26 May, 2016 from http://thehomecalling.com.au/resources/BPS_Patient_Guide_Infusors_Web.pdf

    RCH Wallaby Resources for Parents and Carers. Retrieved 26 May, 2016 from http://www.rch.org.au/wallaby/resources/

    Infusor Elastomeric Pumps Clinician Guide. Retrieved 26 May, 2016 from http://www.capca.ca/wp-content/uploads/Baxter-Elastomeric-Pumps-Clinician-Guide11.pdf



    Developed by Platypus and Wallaby wards. First published October 2016.


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Disclaimer
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.