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The benefits and drawbacks of syringe drivers in palliative care.

Authors
  • 1
  • 1 Primary Care, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
International journal of palliative nursing
Publication Date
Volume
14
Issue
3
Pages
139–144
Identifiers
PMID: 18414338
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article will outline the use of continuous subcutaneous infusion pumps, known as syringe drivers, including their benefits and drawbacks in a palliative care context. There have been over 5000 articles published globally describing syringe drivers in the medical and nursing literature within the last decade. Many provide guidance on their use, although much of the data are repetitious, disease or age-group specific, and focused on pragmatic issues to do with clinical application. Several trusts and hospices across the UK are carrying out trials of the recently launched McKinley T34 syringe driver. Therefore, it seems timely to consider their wider use internationally. Globally, practitioners in palliative care are very familiar with their use, although the literature lacks specific guidance and, at times, the information is ambiguous. Having briefly reviewed their benefits, the article considers the limitations of using syringe drivers and comments on some of the lesser known/reported practical and patient-focused drawbacks associated with their use. We conclude by considering why, when so much education and training exists to help practitioners use these devices effectively, so many human errors occur.

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