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What is hypodermoclysis? Hypodermoclysis (HDC) is administering subcutaneous fluids or medications by way of injecting them under the skin rather than through a vein (IV) or muscle (intramuscularly). It is used on patients who cannot take medication orally, whose veins aren’t suitable for IV fluids, or simply those who are in need of hydration. 

So what role does hypodermoclysis play in the well-being and health of residents? It helps them maintain an appropriate hydration level, which:

A caregiver is assessing the resident's needs to determine if they need IV therapy or hypodermoclysis.
Hypodermoclysis (HDC) is administering subcutaneous fluids or medications by way of injecting them under the skin rather than through a vein (IV) or muscle (intramuscularly).
  • Boosts brain function: As people age, cognitive processes naturally slow down. Residents must stay hydrated because hydration enhances cognitive function by ensuring the brain cells intake the necessary water.
  • Enhances metabolism: Older adults experience more changes in their water metabolism than younger people, who can regulate their water balance better. This means that seniors often face challenges with water turnover, which is the process of water entering and leaving the body over time. Understanding water turnover is essential when assessing residents’ fluid needs and maintaining proper hydration levels.
  • Enables better digestive health: Constipation or digestive discomfort is often associated with dehydration. Residents who experience these symptoms must consume their daily recommended amount of water and have adequate fiber in their diet to improve their digestive health and reduce constipation. 
  • Maintains urinary health: Certain seniors experience urinary incontinence, which may cause them to limit their water intake. However, this can worsen the issue, leading to urinary tract infections. To maintain and potentially alleviate urinary incontinence, seniors must have healthy drinking habits and stay adequately hydrated.
  • Manages kidney health: Kidney function typically declines as people age, resulting in a reduced ability to concentrate urine. Seniors should drink water consistently throughout the day to support optimal kidney function to enhance renal capacity and urinary health.
  • Decreases thirst: As people age, their sense of thirst tends to diminish, making it less likely for seniors to recognize when they need water, placing them at a higher risk of dehydration. For this reason, long-term care facilities must remain vigilant about residents’ water intake to safeguard them against potential dehydration-related issues.

Who administers hypodermoclysis?

In long-term care facilities, healthcare professionals, such as Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), usually administer hypodermoclysis. These skilled practitioners are trained in hydration assessment and safely administering subcutaneous fluids to residents. Other responsibilities include:

  • Assessing and maintaining accurate hydration documentation via the facility’s nursing home software
  • Planning and initiating hydration management, including regular updates in resident care plans
  • Providing adequate educational resources to residents and family members about dehydration and hydration management 
  • Monitoring hydration intake and outputs and resident weights

In some cases, hypodermoclysis can be administered by a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) without special certifications. However, it is essential to note that the administration of hypodermoclysis should adhere to the protocol to ensure the procedure is conducted correctly.

Whether an RN, LPN, or LVN administers hypodermoclysis, smooth communication among the healthcare team is essential in ensuring residents receive the necessary care in a safe and coordinated manner. For this reason, many long-term care facilities have invested in efficient long-term care software systems allowing for better communication and adherence to protocols for sensitive matters like maintaining appropriate hydration levels for residents.

What equipment is needed?

The equipment required for hypodermoclysis includes the following:

  • Small butterfly needle (usually 22 gauge)
  • Skin preparation solution (alcohol or iodine)
  • Sterile occlusive dressing (non-permeable dressing, so air or moisture cannot penetrate in or out)
  • Solution bag (saline or saline-dextrose combination)
  • Tubing with drip chamber 

What does the procedure entail?

After cleaning, the butterfly needle and tubing are inserted into the resident’s subcutaneous tissue. The fluid is then infused at a controlled rate through the needle and covered with an occlusive dressing. The infusion volume varies depending on the resident’s hydration level and how much fluid is needed to maintain a healthy hydration level.

The Advantages of Administering Subcutaneous Fluids in a Long-Term Care Setting

Administering subcutaneous fluid in long-term care settings delivers fluids for chronic maintenance requirements and to combat mild to moderate dehydration. So what are the benefits of using hypodermoclysis in long-term care settings? It is:

A nurse is monitoring a resident to ensure he is not suffering from any subcutaneous fluids side effects.
Subcutaneous fluids side effects include infections from contaminated septic equipment.
  • Easier to administer: Many older adults have limited venous access, making IV therapy more difficult than hypodermoclysis. If an IV is not inserted properly, the fluids can leak into the surrounding tissue, leading to infections, nerve damage, stroke, brain injury, or death. 
  • Safer: Hypodermoclysis is administered at puncture sites, such as the abdomen, scapular region, thighs, or pectoral area, making it harder for residents to reach. This prevents them from attempting to remove the catheter themselves, which can lead to pain or infections. 
  • Cheaper than an IV: Hypodermoclysis administered in long-term care facilities offers a convenient and cost-effective alternative to hospitalization because it allows residents to remain in the facility rather than transferring them to an acute-care hospital for intravenous rehydration, which can be distressing. 
  • Less complicated and more pleasant: Hypodermoclysis offers minimal discomfort and complications to residents. This is because fluid absorption circulates through diffusion and perfusion, reducing adverse effects, such as swelling, localized pain, and erythema.
  • Less restricting: Unlike traditional IV therapy, which requires patients to be confined to their beds, subcutaneous fluid administration allows residents to move around more freely and engage in daily activities without interruption. Caregivers can easily connect and disconnect the needle so residents have more movement, giving them a sense of normalcy and empowerment.

The advantages above highlight the value of administering subcutaneous fluids to improve the quality of life and care for residents in long-term care facilities. Despite these advantages, though, there are some potential side effects that must be discussed, which we will cover in the next section. 

Contact us here to learn how our long-term care software can aid hypodermoclysis and subcutaneous fluids procedures. 

Potential Subcutaneous Fluids Side Effects for Residents 

When administering subcutaneous fluids, healthcare professionals must follow protocol and prioritize the safety and well-being of residents. This is because there are potential subcutaneous fluids side effects that occur when administering hypodermoclysis. The complications of the hypodermoclysis technique are similar to those associated with intravenous therapy. Only they occur less frequently. 

The most common subcutaneous fluids complications include:

  • Infections at the infusion site due to contaminated septic equipment 
  • Infections from catheters not replaced every 72 hours or sooner 
  • Instability due to lack of monitoring for localized reactions

In rare cases, residents may experience dehydration due to extravasation (leaking of subcutaneous fluids) or an allergic reaction to the fluid, which can cause local inflammation or bleeding. 

In such cases, the infusion should be stopped immediately, and further medical attention is needed. For this reason, it is vital for nurses to closely observe and monitor residents throughout the procedure, allowing them to promptly identify and manage any side effects or complications that may arise.

By adhering to proper protocol, regular monitoring, and thorough documentation via a nursing home software system, healthcare professionals can ensure the safe administration of subcutaneous fluids to maximize resident outcomes and effective care delivery.

Managing Hypodermoclysis in Long-Term Care Software

Facilities that want to optimize their hypodermoclysis processes and improve resident care must utilize long-term care software systems that support administrative duties and relieve nurses of excessive paperwork. 

Below are the ways by which facilities can incorporate nursing computer software into their hypodermoclysis process to lessen the burden of administrative duties.

A resident in a long-term care facility is being given subcutaneous fluids to combat dehydration.
Administering subcutaneous fluid in long-term care settings delivers fluids for chronic maintenance requirements and to combat mild to moderate dehydration.
  • Efficient documentation and tracking: Nursing home management software provides a centralized platform for healthcare professionals to document and track hypodermoclysis administration. Effective software systems streamline the documentation process, ensuring all essential details, such as infusion sites, fluid volumes, resident responses, and any observed side effects, are accurately recorded, communicated, and noted as trends as appropriate.
  • Enhanced communication and collaboration: Elder care software systems enable seamless communication and collaboration among the healthcare team members involved in hypodermoclysis administration. The software allows for real-time updates and fluid information sharing, ensuring all relevant parties can access accurate and up-to-date resident data. 
  • Improved safety and compliance: Senior care software often has built-in safety features and compliance checks specific to hypodermoclysis administration. These features can include helpful alerts for potential medication interactions, reminders for regular monitoring and assessment, and adherence to established protocols and guidelines. 
  • Advanced data analysis and insights: Modern long-term care software systems can analyze the data collected during hypodermoclysis administration, providing valuable insights into resident outcomes and treatment efficacy. This data analysis helps the clinical staff to make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and optimize the administration process. 
  • Significant efficiency and time-saving: Long-term care software automates various administrative tasks by generating reports, scheduling follow-up assessments, and streamlining the management of inventory and supplies. This automation saves valuable time for the healthcare team, allowing them to focus more on resident care and reducing administrative burdens. 

By incorporating nursing computer software into the hypodermoclysis process, facilities will see improved documentation efficiency, enhanced communication and collaboration, and better safety procedures in line with federal and local regulations. These benefits and more will ultimately improve the facility’s reputation and quality rating, resulting in higher census numbers and better resident care.

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