If you’re a healthcare professional, then you are sure to understand the struggle that sometimes exist when you need to find a feasible vein to puncture on a patient. For various reasons, the veins of some people are more difficult to access, which can lead to multiple needle sticks and increased discomfort for the patient. In order to avoid this situation, you need to be able to locate a vein from the start. You can do this using a Vein Finder.
What is a Vein Finder?
A Vein Finder is exactly what it sounds like. It is a device that is used to reduce the amount of time it takes to find a vein on a patient. This is crucial for the caretaking process, in terms of the level of both patient and caretaker comfort. The longer it takes to find a vein, the less confident a caretaker feels, and the less comfortable a patient feels. Other than keeping your patient comfortable, another reason that you may be interested in using a vein finder, is to reduce the number of needles wasted while attempting to locate a vein.
How Do Vein Finders Work?
Think about your skin and the times you have noticed your own veins. When there is a lighter environment, or a light source shining directly on your skin, veins are easier to spot, right? Vein finders use this logic and take it a step further.
An infrared vein finder uses a specific type of light, which is able to penetrate the skin by a few millimeters to illuminate the targeted veins. (1) Infrared light is a type that our eyes cannot detect, naturally, so most infrared devices are paired with red lights to indicate their proper functioning.
When infrared light penetrates the skin, it is absorbed by the hemoglobin in the blood. It’s completely safe, so there is nothing to worry about! When the infrared light is absorbed, the vein structure of the patient is highlighted, making it more visible to the naked eye. This type of vein finder is best used in darkened areas, to allow the infrared light to work properly.
There are also other types of vein finders, usually in the form of glasses, which work by altering the color of the light visible to the eye. This, in turn, makes veins more visible. This type of vein finder works best in highly illuminated areas.
Why is it important to use a Vein Finder?
The task of finding a usable vein in a patient can sometimes be very simple and straightforward, while other times it can seem impossible. No two patients are the same, and the ability to locate a vein will be different with each patient. What is clear, however, is that there are some groups of patients with whom it is generally more difficult to locate veins. (2) It is in these cases, that vein finders play a vital role.
It is especially difficult to locate viable veins when working with the following groups of patients:
- Elderly people.
- Patients with dark skin tones.
- Obese people.
- Patients who undergo many diagnostic or intravenous therapeutic procedures.
- People who were burn victims.
- Patients who are restless, agitated, or won’t stay still.
- Oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- Drug abusers.
When it comes to working with these groups of patients, finding veins is usually difficult, and if you are working with the bare eye, it may take several attempts and multiple needle sticks before a vein is found. Using a vein founder will save you and the patient time and distress.
Types of Vein Finders
There are two main types of vein finders: passive and active. The difference between them lies in the ways in which they work to highlight or reveal the veins to the naked eye. Both types of vein finders will prove effective in helping you locate veins more easily, so it comes down to personal preference when choosing the one you want to use with your patients.
Before you make your choice, it is important to learn more about each type of vein finder.
Passive Vein Finders
The reason these tools are called passive vein finders is because they do not require any power to work. Generally, passive vein finders come in the form of glasses, which look like sunglasses
- Vein Finder Glasses: Rather than using infrared light to highlight the patient’s veins, vein finder glasses and other passive vein finders use special filtered lenses to change the color of the light that you are able to see. This creates the ability to see the veins more clearly.
When using passive vein finders, it is important to be in a brightly lit place, so that the veins will stick out well, as the color is changed by the lenses. Passive vein finders are a useful tool to have on hand, even if you prefer using active vein finders. They are small, lightweight, and easy to carry with you anywhere. In the case of a power outage, a passive vein finder could help with emergencies.
Active Vein Finders
When it comes to the most popular vein finders, the majority of them are active vein finders. Active vein finders require a power source to operate, they can be battery-operated or run with
Active vein finders use infrared light in order to highlight the patient’s veins quickly and easily. When using an active vein finder, it is best to work in a darkened area, so that the veins will be simple to spot.
Active vein finders have become a tool that healthcare professionals rely on, whenever possible, which is why there are many options and models available. You may come across some of the following types while searching for the right vein finder for you:
- Laser Vein Finder.
- UV Light Vein Finder.
- IV Vein Finder.
- Smart Vein Finder.
- Vein Finder App.
These active vein finders all work in similar ways, but are simply marketed differently. You will need to think about what your situation calls for when deciding which vein finder will work best for you.
Another type that you may come across is the ultrasound vein finder. Much like a normal ultrasound, this type of vein finder will not only highlight the patient’s vein, but reveal their tissue and organs, as well. This type of vein finder is commonly used by surgeons. These devices, while much more powerful, are not as portable as handheld active vein finders, and are used for very specific purposes.
How to Choose the Right Vein Finder for You
Before making your decision about which vein finder to add to your equipment collection, you should think about exactly when you’ll be using it, and what that means, in terms of features it must have.
Here are some things to consider:
- Level of Portability: if you work in a hospital, or make house calls, you may find yourself needing to have a vein finder that is easy to carry with you at all times. There are many handheld vein finders that are portable.
- Patient Groups: some vein finders are made to work specifically with certain groups of patients. There are many models that work well with all patients, but if you specialize with a certain group, you may want to consider investing in a model that works best for that group.
- Ease of Use: finding and puncturing a vein can be a difficult process, not only if the vein is tough to locate, but also if the patient doesn’t stay still enough. Make sure to choose a vein finder that will be easy and smooth to use with all patients.
- Passive or Active: consider your working environment, amount that you will use your vein finder, and type of patients. You may find that you want to have both an active and passive vein finder in your collection.
- Power Source: many active vein finders function using batteries. Something to consider is whether the model you choose works with rechargeable batteries, or if you will need to constantly buy and replace disposable batteries.
- Price: it’s important to know your budget before you begin your search, so that you don’t waste any time with models that don’t fit into your price range.
Considering these factors before you start your search for the right vein finder for you will lead you on the right path to choose the model that will serve you well in a timely manner.
Accessories You’ll Need with Your Vein Finder
Choosing your vein finder is only part of the process. When you use vein finders in practice, you will find that you need a few other accessories to make sure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Here are some basic accessories that you need to be sure to have on hand when using a vein finder:
Disposable Covers: if you plan to use your vein finder on more than one patient, then it is absolutely critical to make sure that you are using disposable covers, and changing them after each use. This is important to avoid contamination and spreading germs between people.
Disinfectant Wipes: after each use, be sure to clean your vein finder with a disinfectant wipe so as to keep it clean and suitable for use with many patients.
Disposal Container: if you have a busy day of work, you will want to be sure that you always have a proper way of disposing of needles after their use.
Disposable Tourniquets: when you treat many patients, it is better to use disposable tourniquets for cleanliness and to increase the patient’s comfort.
Preparation Pads: always make sure to use a prep pad on the area of the patient’s skin that you plan to puncture with the needle.
Disposable Gloves: to protect yourself, and practice optimal hygiene when using your vein finder and giving injections, you should always wear a fresh pair of Medical Grade gloves.
Bandages: after giving an injection, or drawing blood, the patient may need a bandage to cover up the puncture wound.
Gauze: it is good practice to place a piece of gauze under the bandage you apply to the patient’s puncture wound, just in case they bleed.
Hand Wash: you may want to carry a suitable hand cleaner with you at all times to ensure that you are able to keep your hands disinfected, without damaging your skin with multiple washes throughout the day.
Keeping these accessories handy at all times will ensure that you are running a safe and hygienic practice, and will help you feel more confident in your abilities to treat your patients.
Top 5 Active Vein Finders
It’s time to look a your best options when it comes to choosing an active vein finder. Here are the top 5 choices you should consider:
Veinlite EMS Adult Baby Transilluminator Vein Finder
If you are looking for ultimate convenience and ease of use, when it comes to your vein finder, then you will want to consider the Veinlite EMS. This vein finder is a lightweight, hand-held device, which can be used to find veins on patients of all ages.
The device uses a combination of 12 orange and 4 red LED lights to highlight the patient’s veins. It is very simple to use, with just one switch controlling all LED lights, and is ideal for use in fast-paced environments, such as emergency rooms.
You will use AA batteries to power this vein finder, and the first 2 are included, so you will be ready to go as soon as you open the package. Your vein finder comes with a pediatric adapter and 2 disposable covers to get you started well.
POLYMER TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS, INC. Respironics Wee Sight Transilluminator Vein Finder
When working with infants, you may find yourself in need of injecting the patient as they lay inside of an incubator. Using a vein finder in that situation could be difficult because of the size. The Wee Sight Vein Finder solves this problem, as it is extremely compact, and will even work well when used in an incubator.
This vein finder, while designed mainly for use on infants, will also work well with elderly, or especially frail patients. The device works with batteries and will last at least a few years, depending on how much you use it, and how well you care for it.
The small design allows you to carry it with you at all times, and the cool light ensures that infants will not be burned.
Illumivein® Portable Red LED Light Vein Finder Transilluminator
Upon first look at the Illumivein vein finder, you may be tricked into thinking that you’re looking at a simple flashlight. This device is made with 9 strong red LED lights for optimal performance. For an extremely affordable price, you will get a vein finder that is compact, which you can easily carry with you at all times, by keeping it around your wrist with the strap.
Make sure you read the directions well, and maintain contact between your patient’s skin and the vein finder so that you will get the best results. This vein finder is a great option for most patients, although it may not be strong enough for some darker tones of skin.
Veinlite LEDX Adult Transilluminator Vein Finder
Another reliable option from Veinlite, their LEDX vein finder is the strongest model from their line and will allow you to locate veins in all skin tones, including darker ones, without any issues. The wide opening allows easy access to the skin so you do not need to struggle with the angle from which you attempt to locate and puncture veins.
This vein finder is an excellent option if you work mainly with adult patients. The device works with a rechargeable battery, and the charger is included in the kit, along with 50 disposable covers and a size adapter. The 32 LED lights in orange and red will provide a large area of illumination while you search for your patient’s veins.
Miralth Infrared vein viewer
If you are a professional, looking to make a serious investment in a vein finder, you may be interested in this model, which is very similar to the Accuvein AV400 Vein Finder. While this model is quite expensive, it provides the medical and hospital grade treatment that you would get with an Accuvein vein finder.
Miralth’s model will allow you to perform intravenous injections on a daily basis without experiencing any worries about whether or not you will be able to locate veins. This high quality vein finder can be used on most groups of patients, including those with darker skin tones.
Its portability makes it ideal for healthcare professionals, along with the fact that it will work well, even in well lit rooms, which makes it versatile.
Top 3 Passive Vein Finders
Now that you’ve read about your best active vein finder options, take a look at these passive vein finders, which may peak your interest:
Oxy-Iso Blood Draw and Color Blindness Glasses, Sport Frame
If you want to make finding veins easier, while also sporting a pair of bright pink glasses, then this is the passive vein finder for you. Just by putting these glasses on, you will correct any issues with colorblindness you experience, while making veins much easier to spot.
The glasses are very durable, and are made with anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses, so you will not need to worry about being distracted as you work. If you work in a hospital or other environment that is usually brightly lit, these glasses are a great option to find veins before performing intravenous injections.
Oxy-Amp Vein Glasses
Working with children means that you want to minimize their discomfort, at all costs. These glasses will help you do that. They are preferred by EMTs and those who work in fast-paced situations, because they make the veins look almost fluorescent, which means that you are unlikely to need to stick the needle in more than once.
These glasses can take wear and tear and will be a tool you use for many years to come. If you work in a fast-moving situation, or need a completely portable vein finder option, these may be the right choice for you.
Oxy-Amp Vein Lens Blank
If you want to use vein finder glasses, but don’t like any of the frames you see on the market, you can choose these free lenses, and just choose any frame you like. This way, you will be able to choose your favorite aesthetic, while knowing that you’ll be able to find veins when necessary.
These lenses are ideal for use in fast-paced environments and with children, as you won’t need to stick the needle twice. The veins will seem like they are glowing when you use these lenses.
The task of locating veins for intravenous injections is one that can prove difficult, depending on the situation and patient. However, it is something that you want to do as accurately as possible. Instead of causing yourself extra stress, make the choice to invest in a vein finder, and see the ease with which you will be able to find your patients’ veins on a daily basis.