Infusion Pump Procedure: How Do You Set Up An Infusion Pump?

by Sara Alvarado

Updated January 11, 2024
Competence in using infusion pumps is a crucial requirement for any clinician administering infusion therapy. After all, medication administration errors can be a costly occurrence in healthcare facilities.

Infusion pumps reduce IV infusion errors. But, to achieve their aim, clinicians must have precise knowledge and skills on how to use IV pumps. That includes knowing how to set up an IV pump to deliver treatment effectively while ensuring patient safety.

This article is a step-by-step infusion pump procedure guide that any clinician can use to quickly learn how to set up an infusion pump.

Step 1. Prepare the Fluid Bag

infusion pump procedure
Ensure you have the prescribed medication or IV fluid.
Confirm the expiry date of the fluid is not due.
Assess the port for injection.
Examine the port for spike insertion.
Ensure the IV fluid bag is intact and the fluid has no signs of contamination (looks cloudy or has signs of residue).

Step 2. Prepare the Pump

You can do pump preparation outside the patient’s room and then roll it to the bedside.
Reconfirm you have the prescribed medication or fluid.
Confirm the presence of IV tubing and other accessories needed for the procedure.
Check that the IV pump is in proper working condition.
Roll the pump to the patient’s bedside.

Step 3. Perform Bedside Procedures with the Patient

infusion pump
Perform hand hygiene to prevent any transmissions to the patient.
Introduce yourself to create rapport with the patient.
Confirm the patient's personal and treatment details.
Explain the procedure to the patient and get patient consent.
Assess patient records for any allergies and verbally confirm with the patient.
Note infusion details: Fluid type or medication, fluid VTBI (volume to be infused) or medication dosage in mL/unit time, administration frequency or times, and fluid flow pressure.

Step 4. Set up the Infusion Pump

Turn on the infusion pump power. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the IV fluid bag from the packaging and hang it on the drip stand.
Unpack the giving set and unscrew the roller clamp. This is the part that will control the fluid flow. The flow control should be closed at this stage of the setup.
Break the port cover of the fluid bag by twisting it.
Insert the spike into the fluid bag port. Ensure not to touch the tip to avoid any contamination.
Perform tube priming by squeezing and releasing the roller clamp to send fluid into the giving set. Follow pump instructions to ensure there are no bubbles.
Connect the IV tubing to the pump by clamping the rollerball. Ensure all connections are secure and close the tubing cassette door.
Sterilize the hub of the connector with a wipe and flush the cannula with injection water.
Connect the IV giving set to the bioconnector.
Adjust the rollerball to set the fluid infusion rate specified on the prescription.

Step 5. Program the Infusion Pump

infusion pump procedure
Set fluid infusion details on the Infusion pump user interface. Use prescription details for infusion rate, VTBI, infusion pressure, and delivery times.
Activate the infusion pump security measures. Activating these measures will trigger an alarm in case of over/under dosage, occlusions, low battery, and any others detected by the Infusion pump system.

Step 6. Initiate Infusion

Once you have confirmed that all the previous steps of the IV pump setup are correct and everything is in order:
Press the start button to initiate infusion therapy.
Monitor infusion for a few seconds before leaving the patient’s bedside and regularly during the entire infusion process. Keep an eye on the infusion pump status on the interface and your ear on any alarms.

Step 7. Manage and Troubleshoot Alarms

Autoinfu infusion pump
Alarms can go off during the programming stage if the information fed to the pump indicates an over or under dose or if you have not completed the programming procedure.

Alarms also go off during the infusion process in case of dosage errors, IV tubing blockage, low battery, and other related problems.

While most models have audio alarms, others like the Autoinfu have both an audio and visual alarm, so you never miss it.

If an alarm is activated, the most likely thing you will do is ask, “How do I stop my IV pump from beeping? However, the patient’s wellbeing should be prioritized so here’s what to do:
Check that the patient is safe and put their mind at ease.
Check the error message on the IV pump.
Follow the suggested solution to resolve the alarm and press ok. The alarm should stop and the IV pump should resume once you resolve the error.

Step 8. Stop the Pump when Infusion is Complete

infusion pump procedure
When the Infusion delivery is complete, follow manufacturer instructions to:
Stop the pump and disconnect the IV tubing from the patient.
Remove IV tubing from the infusion pump for disposal. Do the same with other disposables used in the procedure. Be sure to follow the medical waste disposal policy of your healthcare facility.

Concluding Thoughts

Correct infusion pump procedure is paramount to ensuring proper medical care, treatment, and patient safety.

Knowing how to set up an infusion pump is the responsibility of individual clinicians. However, the healthcare facility management must ensure proper training for Infusion pump setup.

Following this Infusion pump procedure guide will help you guarantee accurate IV fluid or medication administration to your patients.

Remember to always consult with a doctor when in doubt about any aspect of the IV pump setup and use. Infusion pump errors can be dire, and you should always avoid them.
Article by
Sara Alvarado
Greetings, I'm Sara, a dedicated nurse and a proud contributor to the AutoInfu blog. With my firsthand experience in the world of infusion pumps, I'm here to provide you with the latest insights, expert advice, and essential updates to ensure you stay informed about the infusion pump industry.

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