The optimal approach for peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) insertion in adult hospitalised patients with difficult intravenous access (DIVA) is unknown. The present study aimed to critically appraise the quality of (i) assessment instruments and (ii) clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) or escalation pathways for identifying and managing patients with DIVA. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EBSCO MEDLINE, EMBASE (OVID) and EBSCO CINAHL databases were searched on 22 March 2021. Studies describing a DIVA assessment measure, CPG or escalation pathway for PIVC insertion in adults (≥18 years of age) were included. Data were extracted using a standardised data extraction form including study design, type of resource and reported clinical outcomes. Quality of DIVA assessment instruments were reviewed using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments checklist. Methodological quality of CPGs and escalation pathways was assessed using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation-II (AGREE-II) instrument. Overall, 24 DIVA resources comprising 16 DIVA assessment instruments and nine CPGs or escalation pathways (including one combined assessment instrument and escalation pathway) were identified. Instruments commonly focused on vein visibility and palpability as indicators of DIVA. CPGs and escalation pathways unanimously recommended use of vessel visualisation technology for patients with or suspected of DIVA. Methodological quality of the resources was mixed. Consensus and standardisation of resources to identify DIVA and recommendations for managing patients with DIVA is limited. Adopting consistent, evidence-based CPGs, escalation pathways or DIVA assessment instruments may significantly improve clinical outcomes.