General Care Equipment
“What is all this stuff?”
You may receive extra oxygen to help you breathe better and to increase the level of oxygen in your body. There are a few ways to receive oxygen.
- The nasal cannula is a plastic tube that loops around the ears and has two prongs that rest inside the nostrils.
- The face mask fits over the nose and mouth. It can give higher amounts of oxygen than the nasal cannula. It also adds moisture for added mouth and throat comfort. The bubbling sound that you hear is from the making of the mist.
- A ventilator is needed only if your own breathing can’t maintain high enough oxygen levels. If this happens you will be moved to an ICU.
Intravenous Lines “IVs”
IV lines deliver fluids and medicine into your blood. You will see the plastic hub resting on your skin under a clear dressing. The rest of the IV is a tiny plastic tube which you cannot see because it’s in the vein under your skin. The IV should be changed every three days to prevent infection. For that reason, the nurses will date the dressing. The amount of fluid that goes into the IV is managed by an IV pump. Many of these pumps may be in use at one time.
Nasogastric Tube “NG” or “feeding tube”
This is a small flexible tube placed in the nose or mouth that travels down to the stomach. It is helpful for people who have problems swallowing. It allows nurses to give medicine and liquid food. The nutrition expert will help manage your diet needs and will discuss it more with you.
Sequential Compression Devices “SCDs” “squeezy things on your legs” “venodynes”
These plastic leggings are wrapped around the legs and have long plastic tubes that connect to a machine. The machine gently pumps air into the leggings in a cycle (ankles first, then calves, thighs, and a rest period). While on bedrest, blood doesn’t move back to the heart as well as it does when you are walking. This increases the risk of forming a blood clot. The SCDs squeeze the blood back up to the heart to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of clots.
A urinary catheter (tube) can be put in the bladder to empty it. There are two ways to do this.
- One way is to leave the tube in the bladder (Foley or indwelling catheter). This tube stays in the bladder and moves urine from the bladder to a drain bag that hangs from the bed.
- The other way is to empty the bladder every 6 hours through a “straight” catheter, or an “in and out” catheter. This method has been shown to cause less infection. It also can help the bladder regain its stretch so that it will work again.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/09/2012
Copyright © 10/09/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6848
Print Health Fact For You