For those unfamiliar with the term, IV therapy (IV stands for Intravenous, meaning “within vein”) refers to the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. IV therapy is known as an effective treatment for many ailments and physical imbalances, because an IV drip is the fastest way to deliver fluids or medications throughout the body.
In both the medical and naturopathic fields, IV therapy is a very old and commonly used practice. In naturopathy, IVs are used to administer vitamins and supplements as a means to treat many conditions or to enhance athletic performance. Let’s take a brief look at the history of IV therapy as well as a few of its benefits for patients.
A Nurse’s Guide to IV Therapy
IV therapy’s roots date back to ancient times, when working with illness through the bloodstream was attempted through means such as bloodletting or using leeches to try and extract illness from infirmed people. The first attempts at IV therapy were in the 17th century, but poor results due to limited research in the medical field at the time caused the practice to be abandoned.
In the 19th century, the practice was revisited during the cholera epidemic, where dehydration was a leading cause of death. There were some complications due to sterilization (which didn’t really exist), but IV therapy was finally recognized as a means to provide hydration to critical patients.
Fast forward to the 20th century, where the discovery of blood typing led to IV therapy as a viable treatment for wounded soldiers during WWI and WWII. Once plastic IV bags, plastic IV catheters and modern infection control practices were developed in the late 20th century, IV therapy became standard in nursing training, and is now seen as a practical life-saving therapeutic treatment.
Nurses Use IV Therapy to Provide Fluids
Often, IV therapy is used for the purpose of rehydration. In cases where a patient is unable to drink enough fluids or where the body doesn’t respond to oral rehydration, IV therapy is extremely effective. Through nursing courses, students will learn how to implement IV treatment and perform tasks such as checking the IV to ensure that the rate of fluids is correct.
IV Therapy Helps Nurses Administer Medication
IV therapy is effective for administering medication in cases where medication either must be received very rapidly, or gradually over time. Sometimes in emergency situations, medication needs to be absorbed by the body quickly, and stomach enzymes work too slowly to break down certain medications. When administered through an IV, medication reaches the bloodstream directly and immediately.
IV Therapy for Blood Transfusions
Another of the many advantages of modern IV technology is the ability to provide blood transfusions. Blood transfusion is a lifesaving practice, used for patients who have experienced a dramatic loss of blood, patients undergoing treatment of diseases like cancer, or patients with conditions such as hemophilia.
Helping Nurses Deliver Vitamins and Nutrients to Patients
IV therapy can also be used to deliver nutrition to bedridden hospital patients who are physically unable to eat. In fact any patient suffering from vitamin deficiencies, such as eating disorder patients, will get their necessary nutrients through an IV.
This type of IV therapy is even offered in rejuvenation clinics, where vitamins and detoxifying agents can be administered directly into the bloodstream for the purpose and experience of greater overall wellbeing.
How else can IV therapy help graduates with a nursing diploma treat patients?