A Dial-a-flow extension set, or dial-a-flow tubing, is a medical device that is used when regulating the flow of a liquid or fluid through an IV. Sometimes this device can also be referred to as a manual flow regulator or just an IV flow regulator.
When you use Dial-A-Flow tubing, you can preset the dial to a specific number that will equate to the milliliter per hour infusion rate. Some infusion flow regulators allow you to preset the infusion rate in drops per minute. Flow regulators can be a great money-saving alternative to infusion pumps. Unlike infusion pumps, flow regulators are regulated manually
How To Use Dial-A-Flow Tubing
Before using dial-a-flow tubing or any IV flow regulator, you should familiarize yourself with any internal protocols or procedures regarding these devices. The instructions provided here are representative of a general use case but should be approved by a supervisor before use.
- Thoroughly wash and sanitize hands before using dial-a-flow tubing.
- Prepare a clean, sterile work surface and work area.
- Gather all necessary supplies including alcohol wipes, IV medication, syringes, and dial-a-flow tubing.
- After you’ve gathered your supplies, re-wash and re-sanitize your hands.
- Unwrap the syringes and put them on your clean surface area.
- Remove the flow regulator tubing from the package.
- Turn the dial-a-flow to the open indicator.
- Grab the medication bag and then remove the plastic tab on the IV bag.
- Remove the cap from the spike end of the tubing. After filling the drip chamber, the tubing needs to be primed. Slowly open the dial-a-flow dial to allow fluid to fill the tubing and remove air bubbles. Be careful not to touch the sterile area.
- Push the tubing spike into the medication bag using a twisting motion.
- Hang the medication bag on the IV pole.
At this point, you can squeeze the drip chamber until it is 1/2 to 3/4 full. Now slowly open the dial-a-flow dial to allow fluid to fill the tube, removing any air bubbles. Once the tube is fully primed, you can close the dial.
Now you can sanitize the end of the cap on the PICC with alcohol and unclamp any clamps that are on the PICC tubing. Remove the protector cap on the end of the dial-a-flow tubing and attach the end of it to the cap on the PICC. Always make sure to keep everything clean and sterile.
You can now open up the dial to let medication drip from the bag into the drip chamber. The flow rate will be set using milliliters per hour. Make sure to check your specific RN instructions for accurate flow rates.
IV flow regulators use gravity to infuse. The IV bag should be hung on a high pole while the patient’s arm is as low as possible. Now you can let the medication infuse into the patient’s arm by gravity until the bag is empty. The infusion rate should be checked regularly whenever infusing by gravity. Once the bag is completely empty, just close the dial.
The above list contains only a few of the key things that you will need to do when connecting the tubing. Remember, if you are unsure or forget your exact internal procedures, consult an experienced nurse to assist you