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NICE issues draft guidance on IV fluid therapy in children

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Draft guidance on managing intravenous fluid therapy in children has been published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

NICE noted that, while IV fluids are some of the most common treatments in hospital, there has historically been little formal training and education for hospital staff responsible for prescribing, administering and monitoring them.

As a result, NICE has now published a draft guideline for consultation setting out how nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals can best manage IV fluid care for children and young people under the age of 16.

Caring for children who are receiving IV fluids can be “challenging” as they may not fully understand why they need a drip, said the institute.  

They may find the blood tests to monitor their progress “distressing” and it can be difficult for hospital staff to effectively monitor the child’s urine output, it said.

NICE added that there was also some debate about whether or not hypotonic fluids are completely safe, and how best to calculate IV requirements for each patient.

The development of the new NICE guideline follows the publication of previous guidance from 2013, which focused on the best standard of care for adults in hospital requiring IV fluids.

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