Home Care for Seniors – Responsible IV and Port Disposal

When caring for the elderly, you might find yourself in a whole new situation. A few years back, I remember taking care of an elderly patient who was using an IV. I was relatively new back then and I was observing how some of the senior caretakers would patiently change the IV of the elderly patient and dispose the used IV efficiently. For those who are not familiar with IV’s, it’s very important to properly dispose of the said medical instrument because an IV does use certain fluids that may cause health hazards when carelessly thrown away. Besides, if you’re using an IV on a sick elderly patient, if you don’t dispose the instrument properly, the chances of anyone contracting an infection is high.

It’s not only with the IV itself, but with the port protectors too. For those who are not familiar with the item, a port protector is a simple plastic cap that is fitted onto the line access of an IV. The line access is the area where doctors or nurses inject medicine to mix with the IV. This is usually used for patients who need different types of medicines mixed together for IV. Doctors usually place port protectors unto the line access in order to avoid contamination within the IV coming from germs that float in the air. It also keeps the line access clean and protected at all times. Port protectors, however, do need to be disposed if the IV is no longer needed.

Port protectors and the IV itself should not be mixed together with the other types of trash. I’m pretty sure you all know what I’m talking about. Any form of bio-hazardous materials should be placed inside a black plastic bag. Or if you have those plastic bags with the bio-hazard label or sign on it, you can do that as well. Keep the bag away from human contact at all times. For caretakers in charge of handling elderly patients at home, have the black plastic bag handy at all times and place the trash inside a metal bin with lid. This prevents vermin and insects from taking out the trash. If possible, have a different bin for the said bio-hazard materials.

Port protectors are easy to dispose since you just need to take them off from the line access. Taking out the whole IV though is a whole different level, so if you’re not a caretaker, then better leave this to the professionals. For caretakers, be careful not to spill any leftover liquid coming from the IV. Once the garbage collector arrives, inform them about the IV that you are discarding so that they can segregate it from the rest of the trash. Always remember to throw away your any used IV responsibly to avoid health hazards.

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver from San Diego, California. A content contributor for Ivera Med, she is passionate when it comes to helping new caregivers and ever ordinary people when it comes to taking care of the elderly, especially when it comes to home assistance.

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