A vascular access device (VAD) is a device that is inserted into either a vein or an artery, via the peripheral or central vessels, to provide either diagnostic (blood sampling or central venous pressure reading) or therapeutic (administration of medications, fluids and/or blood products) purposes.
Types of vascular access devises include peripheral intravenous cannulas, midline catheters, peripherally inserted catheters, central venous catheters non-tunnelled, skin tunnelled catheter, implanted ports.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have identified vascular access devices as being one of the main causes of healthcare-associated infections, and bloodstream infections associated with central venous device insertion are a major cause of morbidity.
Clients who need a vascular access device have their risk of infection minimised by the completion of specified procedures necessary for the safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
The risk of infection is greatly reduced by complying with all parts of the process for safe insertion and maintenance of the device and its removal as soon as it is no longer needed.
Regardless of the type of VAD used, the principles of care for the device remain the same:
- to prevent infection
- to maintain a ‘closed’ intravenous system with minimal connections to reduce the risk of contamination
- to prevent damage to the device and associated intravenous equipment
- to maintain a patent and correctly positioned device