You understand the importance of clearing your patient’s airway in an emergency. To do this, you know that an appropriate suction device is necessary to remove secretions, vomit, blood, or foreign materials that may be causing an obstruction or distress. You are also aware that your hospital stocks portable suction machines to be used as needed. But have you ever thought about the fact that where you store your portable suction machine makes a difference?
The location of your portable suction device is important for two reasons:
- It must be easily accessible by the user
- It must be protected from damage so that it remains in working order
Let’s examine this in more detail.
Keep it accessible
When a visitor suddenly collapses outside the elevator, you don’t want to waste precious time hunting down a portable suction unit. Logically, a great place to store these precious devices is attached to the side of your crash cart. That way, in an emergency, it is right there with the other equipment and medications that you may need, and everything can be brought quickly to the patient’s side.
Areas of the hospital that use suction frequently should consider storing portable suction units in addition to those on the crash cart. This includes
- The emergency room
- Intensive care units
- Operating rooms
- Labor and delivery.
If there were a failure of the in-wall system, a portable suction machine would provide needed backup in order to continue safe patient care. For large units, these devices should be kept in designated areas around the unit, preventing staff members from having to travel far to locate and retrieve a suction machine.
Keep it functioning properly
If you need suction emergently, you want to feel confident that your suction device will do its job. Just as with any type of electrical or battery-powered device, your portable suction machine must be stored properly in order to keep it from damage that would affect its functioning.
Portable suction devices should not be stored:
- In temperature extremes, nowhere too hot or too cold
- In areas where it could get wet
- In areas where it could get knocked to the ground
- In areas with a lot of dust or debris, i.e., a section of the hospital that is under construction
Remember that these devices should be plugged in and charging when not in use, so it is important to keep them in a location with access to an outlet. Make sure that battery-powered suction machines, such as those designed for use in a disaster, have a supply of alkaline batteries stored with the unit.
Some portable suction machines can be purchased with a retention bracket to keep them securely and safely attached to the side of the crash cart.
Take a moment to think about where the portable suction units are stored on your unit. Do you feel that you could grab it quickly in an emergency? Is it in a secure area? If not, is this something that can be addressed? The next time you reach for your portable suction machine, you’ll be glad you did.