Cental Lines AND Coloured Caps



I am an ICU nurse in Australia, and where I work we are currently looking at introducing coloured caps for our central lines. Our plans are Blue caps = general use. White Caps = Emergency access port. Red Caps = Don't use (For arterial lines and blocked lumens).

I am just interest if any other units have a simular system.

Also what policies are in place for emergency access. At the moment we try and keep our distal lumen free for emergency access.

Looking forward to your replys.



289 Posts

Specializes in home health, neuro, palliative care.

The only problem with any color coding system is if the caps are placed incorrectly. If they are in a hurry, staff may see the color and neglect to double-check the line.



2,438 Posts

Nope, no colored caps. They are all blue.


51 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg - yes, it's a specialty. Has 3 years experience.

We use one for TPN, one for IVF/Meds and one for blood draws. Unfortunately, everyone thinks blue is blood or no maybe white - no no blue is TPN... It's always mixed up anyway.

I try to take it mose seriously if I actually have a pt on TPN (we have one that gets intermittent TPN and IVF - alternating) - I try to get it right for her.


264 Posts

Specializes in MICU.

We don't have different colored caps, but here are my thoughts:

I think it would work if it were to be standardized, and make everyone use it. That way, you wouldn't have ppl saying red is "this",,,, no no red is "that", no blue is "this".... get the idea? Have everyone be on the same page.

BUT, what if you run out of red caps, then are forced to use a blue cap because you have to use something. This could be confusing (for some).

At my hospital, we use different color tape to color code the lines. It is up to each nurse if she/he wants to color code, but it sure makes it easier when you have 6 drips going. Ex: you put green tape on your pump with bicarb, label BICARB on the green tape on the pump, and then tape around the line (usually 2 places on the line and near the injection port). This way, everything is color coded and very easy to quickly see what is going where. OF COURSE, it is still the nurses responsibility to trace from the pt to the pump and verify what is in that line before she pushes anything.

I have worked where they color code the lines and where they do not. Color coding makes life a lot easier (but then again, I am a bit anal ;) and like stuff to be organized and I think this helps).

Life LONG student

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