Ensuring Equipment Safety

Ensuring your medical equipment is functioning properly prior to patient use is critical.  Often this step is not completed or, more prevalent, not performed according to the Instructions for Use (IFU).  This is especially true for equipment used for resuscitation such as defibrillators, AEDs, portable suction, and the like.  Our consultants have noticed that staff members are consistently not following the guidelines as prescribed in the IFU for checking these devices.  Specifically, not unplugging defibrillators during daily checks, when indicated in the IFU, to test battery function or checking cables for wear.  Also, not checking effectiveness of the portable suction per the IFU such as checking indicator lights.  At one organization, our consultant found frayed wiring and a crack in a defibrillator paddle that exposed the inner electronics.  This could result in an accidental discharge to the staff member during use.

The daily checks should be conducted to the same rigor and degree of detail as surgical time outs.  Malfunctioning medical equipment can pose a significant safety risk to both patient and staff.  The elements of each check is determined by the IFU and will vary device to device.  Therefore, organizations must use the content of the IFU functionality checks to ensure consistency and alignment with the manufacturer’s requirements.  We recommend printing the instructions and housing them where the equipment is stored or tested at.  Encourage staff to use the printed instructions as a guide during these functionality checks.  Leadership rounds should include observing staff perform equipment checks to ensure they are following IFUs.  Equipment checks should be part of staff competencies as well.

Please contact us for questions or more information at  704-573-4535 or info@courtemanche-assocs.com.

Courtemanche & Associates specializes in Healthcare Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance Consulting Services. With over 30 years of being in business and 100+ years of healthcare experience amongst our consulting team, we are ready to assist with your accreditation and regulatory compliance needs.

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