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Your syringe driver

Date issued: April 2022

Review date: April 2024 

Ref: C483

PDF:  Your syringe driver final April 2022.pdf [pdf] 972KB

Your syringe driver

What is a syringe driver?

A syringe driver gives you medicine. If you are unable to swallow, cannot take your painkillers, feel sick, cannot settle or are very,
very poorly you may be given a syringe driver.

Where does it go?

A cannula is a small plastic tube put under your skin. If you are worried about this you can talk to the staff about numbing the area first so you
don’t feel it go in.
The cannula goes into an area on your body that has a layer of fat. For example: the top of your arm, your thigh, tummy or bum.
It does not go into a vein or artery.
The pump makes sure that you constantly get your medicine.

How does it work?

Unlike having to take painkillers every four hours your syringe driver makes sure that you have your medicine throughout the day and night.
The medicine keeps dripping into your body through the cannula. You will not feel it or realise that it is happening.
A district nurse will come out to see you every day. This is to check that your syringe driver is working well and that the pump is refilled.
Once the cannula is in your body it does not need to be changed or taken out unless your skin is red or sore or you no longer need the medicine.
You will be given a bag to carry around your pump. It is important that it does not get wet.

Questions about your syringe driver:

1. The area where the cannula goes into my skin is red, hot or itchy.

Phone up your district nurse to talk to them about this. They will give you a contact number.

2. My medicine is dripping out of the cannula.

The plastic end of the cannula may be damaged. Phone your district nurse so they can put in a new one.

3. Are there any side effects to the medicine I am being given?

The staff who fit your syringe driver will talk to you about any possible side effects. If you have allergies please tell the staff.

4. Can I have a bath or shower?

You will need to make a plan with your district nurse as only a medical person should take you off the pump.

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