Respiratory Monitoring Helps to Protect Patients on Pain Medication
Methodist Hospitals recently strengthened patient safety measures by expanding its use of capnography to monitor patients using patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) to regulate their pain after surgery.
PCA can provide an effective way to control pain by allowing patients to self-administer small doses of pain medication intravenously, but the technology poses unique risks because the opioid medications used can also suppress the patient’s breathing. The Joint Commission, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices all recommend that hospitals take special precautions including monitoring patients with capnography and oximetry.
Specifically, capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected. Oximetry monitors the patient’s blood oxygen levels ensuring that the patient is receiving enough oxygen.
Methodist Hospitals is among the nation’s leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring to protect patients using PCA. Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals are now deploying capnography after surgery, as well. The early indication of respiratory depression capnography provides enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.
“Our decision to expand the use of capnography beyond surgery and the ICU to monitor all of our patients using patient-controlled anesthesia is in line with national best practices and underscores our dedication to patient safety,” said Mary Jo Valentine, RN, CNS, Director of Nursing Professional Development.
“Methodist Hospitals is committed to providing the highest quality of care. This is a great accomplishment and supports our efforts to provide the best quality care to all of our patients,” said Dr. Michael Davenport, President and Interim CEO at Methodist.
Methodist Hospitals chose capnography equipment from Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices.
“We commend Methodist Hospitals for being part of a growing number of facilities across the country committed to patient safety through the use of capnography,” said Matt Anderson, Vice President and General Manager Respiratory & Monitoring Solutions, Covidien. “Its decision to monitor patients at risk of respiratory depression with capnography and oximetry ensures patients have a level of protection when using state-of-the-art pain management systems.”