Ear Irrigation

Verify medication order and medication label with MAR.

 Instill mineral oil into ear for 2 to 3 days (if indicated for impacted cerumen).

  1. Perform hand hygiene, arrange supplies at bedside, and apply gloves.
  2. Close curtain or room door.
  3. Assist patient to a sitting or lying position with head turned toward affected ear. Place towel under patient's head and shoulder, and have patient, if able, hold basin under affected ear.
  4. Pour irrigating solution into basin.
  5. Gently clean auricle and outer ear canal with moistened cotton-tipped applicator. Do not force drainage or cerumen into the ear canal.
  6. Fill irrigating syringe with solution (approximately 50 ml).
  7. For adults and children older than 3 years, gently pull pinna up and back; for children 3 years old or younger, gently pull pinna down and back.
  8. Slowly instill irrigating solution by holding tip of syringe 1 cm (½ inch) above opening to ear canal. The fluid should be directed toward the superior aspect of ear canal. Allow fluid to drain out during instillation into the basin. Continue until canal is cleansed or solution is used up.
  9. Do not occlude ear canal with tip of syringe.
  10. Dry outer ear canal with cotton ball. Leave cotton loosely in place for 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. Assist patient to a sitting position.
  12. Remove gloves, dispose of supplies, and perform hand hygiene.
  13. Record procedure, amount of solution, time, ear receiving irrigation, and any side effects.
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