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Factitious disorder in IV therapy

26 October 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 19

One of the more fascinating and complex aspects of my role as lead for IV therapy and vascular access is managing patients with factitious disorder. This is a perplexing and often mysterious condition that poses numerous challenges for health professionals. This complex disorder involves individuals intentionally faking or exaggerating symptoms of an illness, deceiving medical professionals into providing unnecessary treatments (Bass and Wade, 2019). Although factitious disorder can manifest in various forms, it becomes particularly concerning when it intersects with vascular access and IV therapy.

Vascular access and IV therapy is essential for individuals who genuinely require it, as it can be lifesaving. However, when factitious disorder comes into play, it transforms IV therapy into a tool for manipulation and deception. The risks involved in the use of indwelling vascular access devices, especially long-term catheters, are often higher in this group of patients as there is a high risk of malicious interference with the device itself in order to manifest clinical symptoms of infection (McMillan, 2020).

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