Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Practice Recommendations


Type of Evidence

Assessment and Device Selection

1. All clients requiring vascular access, regardless of duration of therapy, require the use of a structured approach such as an algorithm to facilitate a comprehensive client assessment and the development of a vascular access care plan prior to the initiation of therapy.


2. To determine the most appropriate type of vascular access device, the nurse needs to consider the following factors:

  • Prescribed therapy – Level Ib;
  • Duration of therapy – Level Ib;
  • Physical assessment – Level IV;
  • Client health history – Level IV;
  • Support system/resources – Level IV;
  • Device availability – Level IV; and
  • Client preference – Level IV.


Client Education

3. Nurses will discuss the options for vascular access devices with the client and family caregivers. Device selection is a collaborative process between the nurse, client, physician and other members of the health care team, however, the nurse has a role to educate and advocate for clients in relation to the selection of appropriate devices.



4. Nurses will document comprehensive information regarding assessment of infusion therapy and device recommendations.

This documentation should include, as a minimum:

  • Assessment completed and the written plan of care developed; and
  • Client and family caregiver education.



Clinical Management
Assessment and Device Selection for Vascular Access
Practice Recommendations