The TLC Method Is Easy to Follow and Reduces Serious Harm in Patients
We’re all familiar with the term TLC, which usually stands for tender loving care. It implies you’ll take great care of someone or something, protecting them from hurt or harm. Nurses have a calling to provide tender loving care on a larger scale than the average individual.
That’s why TLC is the perfect acronym for an IV insertion site inspection method. Originally developed by a large pediatric hospital*, TLC in this case stands for Touch, Look, and Compare. It’s a mnemonic device that nurses are encouraged to follow when inspecting an IV insertion site to spot early warning signs of complications. Here’s what the letters stand for:
- Touch: IV insertion site should feel soft, warm, dry, and pain-free.
- Look: IV insertion site should be uncovered, dry, and without redness.
- Compare: IV insertion site and surrounding area should be the same size as the opposite extremity and without swelling.
The TLC process reminds nurses of the steps they should take when visually and manually assessing an IV insertion site and the surrounding tissue. The good news is when it’s done correctly, nurses may spot early warning signs of complications more frequently. Changes in color, temperature, pain, or swelling are early indicators that serious complications could be on the horizon. Detecting these issues early allows health care providers to take appropriate action before a patient experiences serious complications including compartment syndrome.
Conventional armboards are flat and opaque. They don’t allow for easy visual or manual assessment of the IV insertion site. The TLC® Splint, available for the wrist, elbow, and foot, has see-through openings, allowing nurses to perform assessments without removing the device. In addition, the TLC Splint is the only armboard ergonomically designed to stabilize the area of flexion in the ideal position for IV therapy infusion, extending dwell times.
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*Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “TLC For Safety Touch Look and Compare” poster.