I feel like I owe my dear friend SwabCaps a huge thanks for helping to keep me central line infection free for the past five years (knock on wood)! Don’t get me wrong, Sawbcaps aren’t a 100% infection blocker. They do a pretty fabulous job though!
These sweet little orange nuggets are pure gold to me. Lots of you might know about them, but for those who don’t, SwabCaps are Skittle sized rubbery-plastic caps that have an alcohol saturated pad inside that you put on the end of a central line or IV when it’s not in use. You might also know a similar product called a Curos cap, a very similar product, but it’s a harder plastic that is bright green.For the first eight or so years of being on TPN, they either didn’t exist (I can’t find when they were originally put on the market) or were kept super secret from me. But ever since the first day I used one, it was love at first sight. Outside of the the twelve hours that I infuse overnight, the end of my central line hasn’t seen anything but the inside of a SwabCap since.
The reason they’re so fabulous is because if you think about it, the end of a central line dangles around in the elements of the world all day long. Then when you go to hook up to TPN or whatever other infusion you’re administering, you want that end of that line to be completely sterilized before connecting the tubing to it. While scrubbing the hub with alcohol right before administration is great, what if there was a way to have the end of your line soaked in a cleaning solution all of the hours of the day that you’re not using the line at all rather than having it bare while it’s tucked into your shirt or PICC line cover?
It might be one extra thing to deal with, but anything I can recruit onto my army against infection is worth it to me!
Here’s what a wrapped SwabCap looks like:
To use, you simply pull the wrapper off, and twist the cap onto the end of your line. Once it’s on, the outer covering should slip right off and leave you with the bright orange cap.
This is what the inside of the SwabCap looks like, it has a tiny cube of an alcohol swab-like material that is soaked in 70% IPA (isopropyl alcohol).
Here’s some tips on SwabCaps:
- Do not re-use them- This is a one time use product. Even if it’s as quick as taking the Swabcap off, flushing the line with a medication, and needing to re-cap the line. This would call for a new SwabCap. I’ve had lots of issues with this in hospitals, and I kindly explain that they are a one use product and ask that they use a new cap every time.
- SwabCaps do not work instantly or replace scrubbing the hub of your line- If you haven’t had a cap on your line, it doesn’t work to just place a swab cap on for a few seconds instead of scrubbing the hub of your line. The Swabcap has to stay in contact with the hub for several minutes (according to the official Swabcap product box, it must remain in contact for 5 minutes.) So be careful with this. Also, different providers have different protocols for the use of these caps. Many providers require you to scrub the hub of the line in addition to the use of the SwabCap or Curos cap, this depends on what your TPN company or doctor’s protocol is.
- Make sure the SwabCap is securely on your central line- I’ve had more issues with this with Curos caps. Since they are a more rigid plastic material, you have to make sure to line up the lines to screw the cap on. The SwabCaps are softer, and almost “hug” the end cap. But it’s vital to make sure they are securely on for them to do their job properly. Otherwise, air can get in and will dry the cap out which makes it ineffective. *Cool note though, if they’re on properly, they’re FDA approved to continue to disinfect the end of a central line for up to 7 days!
A huge thanks to http://www.icumed.com for the development of these products! They’ve made a huge difference in my life, and the lives of many of my friends!
I also wanted to share photos and a little about the trip to Eureka Springs Anthony and I went on with Anthony’s mom!
Eureka Springs, Arkansas is such a unique little town. It is full of fabulous specialty shops, including a specialty hat store, which is full of all my hat dreams! One of our favorite shops is called Eureka’s Nut House who has over 100 different kinds of specialty sodas! Look at these beauties. Lemon Meringue is my top fave!
We also loved getting to stay at the fabulous (and haunted) Crescent Hotel! The building has been around since 1886. Although it’s not always been a hotel. For a short time, it was a cancer “hospital” ran by a faux doctor. It’s all incredibly messed up, and hard to hear about. But this is where lots of the “hauntings” stem from.
The hotel is absolutely gorgeous though. the details are incredible, and I loved being able to stay in a building with so much history. Here are some of my favorite details from the lobby.
We also got to go on a ghost tour! This sweet and adorable gal led our tour, and she did an amazing job! Look a there little hat and lace gloves! Also, sitting next to her in her chair is her little “ghost detector” and it always seems to go off in that chair, so she wanted it by her.And we were told to keep our phones out to take photos to see if we caught anything, and I don’t know much about ghosts, but these blue orbs floated up through a burst series of photos I snapped which was pretty interesting and spooky!We also got to see a gorgeous storm followed by this lovely rainbow from our balcony!It was a really great little get away, and I can’t wait to get back to Eureka Springs soon. So thankful for the time to spend with Anthony and his sweet mom in such a beautiful area!
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week, see you here next week!