is this common practice?? IV tubing laying on the floor


I was visiting a good friend (she is really more like a sister to me) yesterday in the ICU. She is vented (she has Pneumonia) and the expectation is that they will wean her soon.

I have been an LPN for nearly 30 yrs, and was rather concerned seeing the IV tubing from her PIC laying on the floor and the nurses stepping on them. I am I just old school? I was taught that the floor was dirty, and nothing should be touching it.

It was all I could do to not either rearrange them, or at least say something. If I had been a family member, I would have said something for certain.

I am open to seeing all thoughts and opinions, even at 58, I still learn something every day!



1,049 Posts

Specializes in Vascular Access. Has 32 years experience.

Clarification: Are you saying that the IV tubing was still appropriately attached to her IV catheter, but that a portion of the tubing was hanging low, and it was touching the floor. OR, are you saying it was disconnected and lying on the floor?

Has 23 years experience.

it was connected to her, and the various machines, with nearly 2 feet laying on the floor between the 2. I would say that there were 3 iv tubes total.


13 Posts

I wouldn't be ok with a few feet of IV tubing lying on the floor, although I don't know that it necessarily increases the risk of infection if there are a couple of feet between the patient and the part on the floor. Bedrails are notoriously filthy and our lines rub against those all day. Still, I would be really uncomfortable with something connected to a central line just hanging out on the floor. It would increase the risk of tripping (especially for visitors) and, over time, I imagine stepping on IV tubing could do some damage.

Personally, I don't have a problem with visitors or patients pointing out or asking about stuff like that. If it's something that needs to be addressed I do it, and if it's fine then I explain why.

Has 23 years experience.

Thanks.... it just didn't seem like good nursing practice.


6 Posts

I agree that it is defiantly at risk for falls or a potential injury to the PICC site from pulling. However, the IV is a closed container and is protected from the outside environment so I wouldn't worry about infection, unless the nurse is not scrubbing the hub. In ICU things can get crazy and a lot is going on all at once (especially with the multiple lines running, tubing can easily become a complex Rubix Cube). The nurse may be concerned with something else or watching the patient more than the tubing she may not have realized. If you haves a concern say something, any good nurse wouldn't be mad (just choose your tone and words wisely).