How do YOU organize lines/leads/cords/etc? And other make-do tricks of the trade?

  1. From a "us vs. them" thread that will surely soon be shut down, some interesting ways of organizing lines have been popping up.
    We use popsicle sticks, but we don't tuck the lines under the stick. Lines go over the stick and are held in place with a rubber band that's stretched over it with it streched under both ends.
    Can someone better describe the med cup version? I like the idea of the extra slack (especially for my mobile peds patients that don't know to be still!), but I can't picture it in my head what's going on there.

    Oh, and for kids without many lines, but on monitors, I like to gather the cords and use the BP cuff to hold them to the bedrail. Especially for the little ones, it keeps the weight of the cords from pulling the leads/probe off. (And makes it easy to find the BP cuff when it's time for blood pressures!)

    So what are your makeshift tricks? Us nurses are about the most ingenious people there are at "making it work." Lets have a happy thread sharing our successful ventures into creativity!
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    About wooh

    Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 4,977; Likes: 20,737
    RN & Critter Mama; from US


  3. by   TigerGalLE
    I've not seen the medicine cup trick but I'm imagining they turn the cup upside down and tape it to the side rail. That way if the patient is still it will hold the lines but if they pull hard or turn over the lines will come up and slip over the top of the cup? I might try this.

    I've used a tongue depressor before but they still turn to spaghetti sometimes.
  4. by   MunoRN
    I use the cup method, which I prefer so they'll release if they get pulled (rather than pulling on the patient's IJ or PICC because they are snagged under the stick). I take a med cup and tape it to the rail (upside down) which keeps them in place resting on the cup, but if you pull on them they'll come free easily. This mainly works on intubated patients since you've got the HOB up. I'll also seen the cup taped right-side-up which holds them a bit more securely if you have more than say 5 lines, but also allows for the lines to release under tension. I've also used the two cup version for when you don't have the HOB as high (<30 degrees), taping two cups to the rail next to each other to make a slot so the lines go in between, which holds the lines better when you lower the HOB.

    The most common method where I work is to tie them to the rail using a tourniquet, second most common is the stick method, and my cup method is less common.
    Last edit by MunoRN on Oct 14, '11
  5. by   wooh
    You use the plastic med cups I assume? I might have to try this the next time I'm at work and see how I like it!
  6. by   Double-Helix
    First of all- good labeling is a must! I can't stand it is my lines aren't labeled on the pump, on the tubing near the syringe and then again close to the port where it connects too the patient. When they aren't labeled like that, I follow the line at least three times before giving a med so I'm sure I'm not pushing it with the pressors, TPN, etc.

    We have purple, plastic clamps that look like small scissors. We gather up the line and attach the clamp to the bed with the lines trapped in between the handles. It's a little hard to explain unless you've seen the clamps, but it keeps all your lines together in a neat bunch and you can clamp it anywhere on the sheet. It also is quick to release, move and reapply, so you're not constantly removing tape like the tongue depressor method. You can choose how much slack are in the lines so, if your patient is wiggly, you can give them some extra space.
  7. by   Anna Flaxis
    I gave up. My lines look like spaghetti. My lines would be enough to make any ICU nurse run shrieking in terror from the room.

    Understand that I am, by nature, a very organized and compulsively neat person. But, by the very nature of working in the ED, which is down and dirty by the seat of your pants, I have completely surrendered myself to the chaos (at work, that is; at home, I'm still the OCD personality, which drives my family nuts).

    However, when I used to work on the floor, one of the tricks we used was the spoon trick. Tape a plastic spoon to the bed rail and hook the (individually labeled) lines over that.
  8. by   morecoffeepls
    I thought I was going to be rich when I had an idea in nursing school for an organizer, but similar products already exist (like beataclasp).
  9. by   turnforthenurse
    One day during my critical care rotation a nurse showed me how she organizes her cords - she took a dry, clean mouth swab and taped it so that it was parallel to the side rail (not perpendicular) and then stuck the cords underneath it. Cords and lines were still able to slide around freely.
  10. by   wooh
    Hmmm, a mouth swab is slicker than a popsicle stick. I'm liking. I'm hoping all my patients when I'm next at work have a bajillion lines just so I can play and experiment....
  11. by   Zombi RN
    We use the plastic med cup trick, especially for our patients on CRRT and others with tons of lines. Basically you turn the cup upside down, so the open end is facing downwards, and tape it to the siderail of the bed. You can then use it sort of like a "peg" to drape the lines around to keep them in one place and not all in the bed with the patient.

    Regardless, I can't stress how important it is to LABEL YOUR LINES. Ahhh this drives me crazy! Admittedly I am really anal about organization in my rooms, but man.