Intravenous Cannula Dressing: Best Practices and Tips for Proper Application


The intravenous (IV) cannula is a crucial medical device used for fluid and medication administration. Proper care and maintenance of IV cannula dressings are essential to prevent complications and infections. In this blog post, we will discuss the best practices and offer tips on how to correctly apply and secure an IV cannula dressing.

Why is proper IV cannula dressing important?

Proper IV cannula dressing plays a significant role in maintaining the integrity of the insertion site and reducing the risk of complications, such as infections and dislodgment. A well-adhered and clean dressing protects the cannula site from contamination and minimizes the chances of catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs).

Best practices for IV cannula dressing application:

  1. Hand hygiene: Before starting the dressing change, ensure you perform proper hand hygiene following CDC guidelines. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Gather supplies: Collect all the necessary supplies, including sterile gloves, sterile saline solution, sterile dressings, adhesive tape, and a transparent dressing or securement device.
  3. Assess the insertion site: Examine the patient’s IV cannula insertion site for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any signs of infection, inform the healthcare provider immediately.
  4. Remove the old dressing: Carefully remove the old dressing by peeling it off gently to avoid damaging the cannula or disturbing the insertion site. Dispose of the used dressing properly.
  5. Clean the site: Clean the insertion site with sterile saline solution or as per hospital protocol. Use a clean gauze pad or sterile cotton swab to clean the area in a circular motion, starting from the insertion point and moving outward.
  6. Dress the site: Once the site is clean and dry, apply a sterile dressing over the insertion site. Ensure the dressing is of an appropriate size to cover the whole site adequately.
  7. Secure the dressing: To secure the dressing, use adhesive tape or a transparent dressing as per hospital policy. Apply the tape or dressing firmly but not excessively tight, maintaining the patient’s comfort.
  8. Document: After completing the dressing application, accurately document the procedure in the patient’s medical records. Include details such as the date and time of the dressing change, the condition of the insertion site, and any patient feedback or complications.

Tips for successful IV cannula dressing application:

  • Be gentle while handling the cannula to avoid accidental dislodgment.
  • Avoid touching the clean side of the dressing or any surfaces that may cause contamination.
  • Ensure the dressing is intact and secure, with no loose edges that might increase the risk of infection.
  • Perform regular checks on the dressing to ensure it remains clean and dry throughout the IV therapy period.
  • Monitor the patient regularly for any signs of infection or complications related to the IV site.
  • When removing the dressing, support the skin near the insertion site with one hand to avoid tension on the cannula.


Intravenous cannula dressing is a critical aspect of IV therapy. By following the best practices and tips mentioned in this blog post, healthcare professionals can ensure proper application and reduce the risk of complications and infections. Remember to always adhere to your institution’s specific protocols and maintain the highest standards of hand hygiene during the dressing change process. By prioritizing patient safety and care, you contribute to improved outcomes and enhanced patient experiences.

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