This leaflet provides information about syringe drivers. If this is the first time you have heard of a syringe driver this leaflet will answer some of the questions you may have. If you have questions that we haven’t answered there is space at the back of the leaflet for you to write these down. You can then discuss them with your nurse or doctor. Contact telephone numbers are also provided at the end of the leaflet.
A syringe driver is a battery-powered machine. It is small enough to be carried around in a pocket or a small bag (which we can provide).
The syringe driver is designed so that your medicines may be given to you continuously over a 24 hour period.
There are a number of reasons why you may be having a syringe driver. These include:
Syringe drivers are generally very reliable and work in the following way:
Your syringe driver is attached to a fine needle which is placed just under your skin. The needle may be placed in the top of your arm, leg, chest or your stomach. It is held in place with a clear waterproof dressing. A syringe containing your medicines is fitted into the syringe driver.
The needle can stay in place for several days. It will be checked regularly in case the area becomes red, swollen, sore or uncomfortable. If this happens the needle site will be changed. Please tell your nurse if the site feels sore.
You may need to stay on the syringe driver for a few days or a few weeks. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
The syringe driver should not affect the things you are able to do. You can eat and drink as normal. You should check with your doctor if it is safe for you to have alcohol with your medicines.
It is important that you do not get the syringe driver wet. You can bath or shower but you need to keep the syringe driver out of the water. Some people wrap it in a plastic bag whilst showering, you can discuss this with your nurse. You
should not swim with your syringe driver.
If you want to go abroad with your syringe driver please discuss this with your doctor or nurse. Some medicines may not react well in certain climates. We can show your relative how to care for your syringe driver whilst you’re away.
There are several types of syringe drivers. At Velindre Cancer Centre we use the blue label type.
If you go home with a blue label type of syringe driver your district nurse will change it to the type they use. Your district nurse should arrange for the blue label syringe driver to be returned to Velindre. But if not, please return it to us as soon as possible so that somebody else can use it.
Whilst you are in hospital we will check your syringe driver 15 minutes after it has been set up, then on every drug round, which is about every 4 hours.
When you are at home a district nurse will visit you to refill the syringe. This will usually be once every 24 hours and will be at the same time each day. You should also check the syringe driver yourself every few hours in the day. You should ask your district nurse what to look out for.
Please tell your nurse or doctor if you still have pain or feel sick when on your syringe driver.
Further questions I would like to ask
Further information and advice is available from:
Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888
Ask for First Floor ward or the Active Support Unit
You can also speak to the staff of Rhosyn Day Unit between 8am – 5pm Monday - Friday
This information leaflet has been written by health professionals. Sources of information include ‘Me and My Driver’ information leaflet produced by Sims Graseby Medical limited.
The leaflet has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients. It is reviewed and updated every two years.