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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Medical Devices

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Infusion Pump Risk Reduction Strategies for Patients Using Infusion Pumps at Home

Introduction

It is unlikely that your infusion pump will malfunction. However, sometimes there can be problems with infusion pumps for a variety of reasons. The following are actions you can take to help avoid potential malfunctions, including strategies to plan ahead in the event of an infusion pump malfunction.

Reduce Risks

Plan Ahead

  • Work with your home health nurse to develop a back-up plan in case of an infusion pump failure.
  • Know if your plan includes calling 911.
  • Know where your infusion pump back-up battery is located and how to access an emergency power supply, if applicable.
  • Refer to Home Healthcare Medical Devices: Infusion Therapy - Getting the Most Out of Your Pump for more information.
  • Learn about your infusion pump and medication. Ask your home health care provider:
    • About the infusion pump
      • What is the name of my infusion pump?
      • Is this infusion pump already set up?
      • Do I need to look at anything on the infusion pump to make sure it is correct? If so, what?
      • How do I start and stop the infusion pump?
      • Do I need training to use this infusion pump?
      • Will any electrical items in my home interfere with my pump?
    • About your medication
      • What is the name of my medication?
      • What does the medication do?  How should it make me feel?
      • What are the side effects?
      • What is the dose of my medication?
      • How long should my medication take to complete?
      • Can there be medication left in my tubing or in my bag when the infusion pump stops?
    • What to do when there are problems
      • What should I look for if I'm getting too much medication too fast?
      • What should I look for if I'm getting too little medication?
      • Who should I call with questions or problems?
      • What should I do if the power goes out?

Check

  • Make sure you can read the infusion pump's displays and hear the alarms, if applicable.
  • Verify the settings when starting or changing the rate of a medication or fluid, if applicable. If they are not correct, or if you have questions, call your home health provider.

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Report Problems

  • Call your home healthcare provider to obtain further instructions if:
    • The infusion pump appears broken or damaged or has small chips or cracks.
    • An unfamiliar alarm sounds or is displayed.
    • An alarm is unable to be cleared that you have been trained to respond to.
  • You are also encouraged to file a voluntary report with the FDA for any problems you may encounter with the infusion pump.

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