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What Are IV Poles Used For?


What Are IV Poles Used For?

Intravenous poles (IV poles) are common staples of hospitals and other medical settings, providing vital and often lifesaving treatment to patients when and where they need it. Every day, millions of health care workers depend on reliable and durable medical equipment like IV poles to deliver the right kind of medical treatment to the patients in their care. When chosen well, IV poles complement and facilitate the highest level of patient service.

IV poles serve many key purposes in a medical setting, some of the most common are listed below.

What Are IV Poles Used For?

  1. Administer Medicine
  2. Portability
  3. Organization

When choosing IV poles for your medical staff, there is much to consider. These are essential medical supplies that will allow your team to administer a steady supply of fluids to patients, whether that be saline solution, antibiotics or even chemotherapy drugs. They are essential for outstanding patient care and must be heavy duty enough to meet the demands of the dynamic medical environment. They also must be easily accessible and easy to use. You will find IV poles in a wide variety of sizes, materials, and styles and with a sizable range of additional features.

When choosing the selection of IV poles that is right for your medical team, it is important to consult with them on what features and configurations will best meet their needs—and the needs of their patients.

What is an IV Pole?

An intravenous pole, or IV, pole is simply a device that holds a bag (or bags) of intravenous fluids in place as it is being administered to a patient through a tube. Medical professionals can hang the bag(s) of IV fluids from hooks at the top of the pole, then connect the fluids to the patient’s veins via tubing to deliver the fluids safely and effectively and at a constant rate.

Many IV poles feature a rolling, weighted base with wheels so that the patient’s IV fluid delivery system becomes portable, allowing them to move about while still receiving lifesaving care. When considering a rolling base, it is important to ensure that the base is appropriately weighted so that it remains stable throughout its use for patient treatment.

Thing to Consider When Purchasing IV Poles for a Medical Facility

The importance of reliable IV poles cannot be overstated. They must be heavy duty enough to withstand the rigorous demands of the hospital environment. When choosing IV poles for your facility, look for poles made of the strongest materials that can hold up to repeated use and the harsh environment of the medical setting. You will find many versions fashioned from tough, heavy duty materials while also featuring corrosion-resistant stainless steel. If your medical staff has the need to use IV poles during Magnetic Resonance Imaging procedures you need to steer them toward IV poles made of non-magnetic aluminum in order to ensure patient safety during the MRI procedure.

In general, poles made from stainless steel are more durable and long-lasting than versions fashioned from chrome. Chrome IV poles are less expensive to purchase, but chrome boasts less durability than stainless steel and can begin to rust over time. If the chrome coating of your IV poles begins to rust and wear away, this can lead to an infection control problem if not managed quickly and effectively.

If you are looking for IV poles to use within a surgical setting, they must be stainless steel. Not only is a stainless steel IV pole more durable than chrome, but it’s also easy to wipe down and keep clean within a sterile setting.

When choosing IV poles for your team, think about any additional features that can help them deliver the highest level of care. You are likely to find a wide variety of IV poles that can accommodate any additional needs your team may have.

For example, some IV poles include an attachable wire basket that can hold clipboards, notebooks, files, or any other items that medical professionals may need. Others may include laptop stands that allow medical professionals to input and access electronic medical records as they administer treatment and interact with patients. Some include attached monitor stands that allow even the heaviest of vital signs monitors to become portable components of patient care.

Two common IV pole accessories are universal clamps and steering handles. The IV pole clamp is generally an aluminum clamp that is used to mount most accessories without disassembling the IV pole. The IV pole steering handle is usually easy to grip and that has a vinyl coating. The IV pole steering handle helps with moving and steering the IV pole.

As you shop for IV poles, you will notice price points through a wide range. For less frequent use, the economy IV poles should work fine. For moderate to high use, you should aim for somewhere in the mid to high price range. If you need high-quality, durable IV poles you can count on, you will be sorely disappointed with a cheap and flimsy IV pole. It is best to invest in an IV pole that will last 5+ years before needing replacement, so look for IV poles that come with manufacturer support and warranties. You want to purchase your vital medical equipment and medical supplies from a manufacturer that will stand behind its product’s durability over time.

An example of an economy IV pole is the Clinton Industries economy IV pole with a 4-caster base and two hook top. These are usually priced in the $30-$40 range. A durable mid-range IV pole would be like this Stainless Steel IV Pole With Five Leg Spider Base. It has a 21-pound base for more stability, and it’s made with stainless steel. A durable mid-range IV pole will cost $250-$400. The most expensive IV poles are designed for heavier loads and some of them have lift assist like this Lift Assist IV Poles with a Six Leg Base. These heavy-duty IV poles can range from $600-$1,500.

What Are IV Poles Used For?

Now let us take a closer look at the three ways IV poles help improve patient care within your medical facility.

Administer Medicine

Perhaps the most important function of the IV pole is also its most basic: it allows for the continuous intravenous delivery of fluids. Depending on the patient and the specific situation, those fluids can vary widely. IV poles are used to help deliver everything from advanced chemotherapy drugs to antibiotics and simple saline solution. Most IV poles are versatile, offering the ability to adjust the pole height in order to ensure the most appropriate rate of flow for administering fluids. Height adjustment is typically controlled by push button, friction grip or twist clamp, and the most typical standard pole height is 45 inches.

Depending on the needs of your medical facility, you can also find IV poles with varying numbers of hooks to hold the wide-ranging numbers of IV bags or infusion pumps needed for patient care. You will see standard versions with two, four or six hooks, though additional attachments often are available that will allow your IV pole to hold more IV bags.

In general, two-hook tops are used in areas of your facility where few IV bags are typically needed for patient care. Four-hook tops, on the other hand, are the most common setup for most facilities. Your team might choose a six or even eight-hook top if you are in a medical facility where many IV bags are used simultaneously on a regular basis, an ICU setting or surgical setting, for example.

In addition to an IV bag, you may need your IV poles to hold infusion pumps. If this is the case, make sure you are purchasing IV poles that are rated strong enough to hold the extra weight. If you do not and someone attaches an infusion pump to a lighter IV stand that then tips over, you risk fundamental damage to both the infusion pump and the IV stand.


One of the greatest features (especially from a patient perspective) of an IV pole is that it allows lifesaving and therapeutic treatment to be portable. Because the IV stand features wheels that allow it to roll about, the patient can carry on activities outside of the hospital bed without interrupting critical treatment. This kind of mobility goes a long way toward improving the overall patient experience during treatment. You can easily find IV poles that also feature a steering handle and/or brake, which makes “driving” them a much more smooth and user-friendly experience.

As you choose IV poles, make sure to keep patient safety in mind. As patients become mobile and wish to move around, they often are responsible for driving their own IV poles throughout the facility. If you choose IV poles that are hard to push or that are not sturdy enough, you run the serious risk of a patient falling while trying to move about your medical center. Make sure you are buying solid, sturdy IV poles to and that they’re being inspected regularly to ensure they’re in full working order.

To protect patient safety, you’ll need to consider the stability of the IV pole base you choose. You will find options with either five legs or six legs, typically with swivel casters included. You can choose from conventional bases (typically around 24 inches in diameter), space-saving bases (usually 16 inches in diameter, or spider bases that feature a low center of gravity and are well suited to holding multiple heavy infusion pumps. Spider bases run generally around 22 inches in diameter. IV poles with spider bases are typically the sturdiest of all IV poles and are capable of safely handling the most weight.

Many medical facilities also choose to upgrade the casters on their IV poles to ensure that the experience of pushing or pulling an IV pole throughout the facility is smooth, safe and easy. Patients and medical professionals sometimes struggle with the transition among several types of flooring within a hospital or medical setting, and sometimes getting into and out of elevators can be a struggle, but with a more sophisticated caster that features the best maneuverability and control, this kind of transition can be handled with ease. Some wheels, especially those fashioned from thermoplastic rubber, are less likely to scuff or scar hospital floors as well.

The IV pole’s portability can also help facilitate patient treatment. For example, if a patient needs fluid delivery, but also needs to move about your facility for physical therapy or medical testing, the portable IV stand allows the patient to move about freely without interrupting the administration of vital fluids.


With additional features like a laptop tray attachment or a storage basket, an IV stand can also serve as an organized mobile office for your medical team. For example, when patients must move to various parts of your hospital or medical facility for tests, a member of your medical staff can accompany the patient, along with all necessary files and medical records. Some versions also offer the ability to include power outlet strips and oxygen tank holders.

When it comes to customizing your IV poles to meet your team’s needs, the possibilities are nearly endless for ensuring that your team has access to every attachment and accessory they need to care for your patients.

IV Poles are an Important Part of Patient Care

IV poles are some of the most seen and used pieces of medical equipment and surgical supplies a patient will encounter within a medical setting. IV poles assist your team with improving patient care and experience by ensuring that the patient can be mobile while still receiving the appropriate level and dosage of necessary fluids.

With a little advance research and by conferring with your medical staff, you can choose the right model for IV poles that meet the needs of your team and facility.

If you are looking for medical equipment and would like a personalized quote, reach out to us at 1-866-561-2380 or email us. We look forward to working with you.