The subcutaneous ambulatory syringe pump is a small, portable, battery powered infusion device. It is used to administer a continuous subcutaneous infusion (CSCI) of medications used to optimise symptom control. The syringe pump is used in palliative care and end of life care to enable the patient to receive effective symptom management. The purpose of administering medications via a subcutaneous infusion is to achieve a steady plasma concentration of drugs, when other routes are inappropriate. It enables avoidance of regular injections for the patient, and enables the patient to retain mobility and independence, where appropriate.

These guidelines are intended for use by all nurses within Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (ASPH) involved with setting up, monitoring and caring for patients with a subcutaneous ambulatory syringe pump in situ.

The syringe pump used across ASPH is the McKinley T34 Ambulatory Syringe Pump.



The purpose of the guideline is to ensure a standardised approach when using a syringe pump to administer medications subcutaneously and therefore optimise patient symptom management, to minimise the potential risk of drug error and to maintain patient safety.

It provides a framework for ensuring that registered nursing staff develop competency ensuring that syringe pumps are used safely and effectively.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Susan Dargan, Macmillan Nurse Specialist Palliative Care
Ratified by: Senior Nursing and Midwifery Leadership Committee
Date Ratified: November 2020
Date Issued: March 2021
Review Date: February 2024
Target Audience: All registered nursing staff
Contact name: Susan Dargan, Macmillan Nurse Specialist Palliative Care


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