Atlantic General Hospital Boosts Patient Safety With Expanded Use Of Capnography
Atlantic General Hospital 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
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.
Atlantic General Hospital 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. Early
indication of respiratory depression with capnography enables medical
staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.
“Atlantic General Hospital is committed to providing the highest
quality of care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor a patient’s
breathing is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our
dedication to patient safety,” said Scott Rose, director of the
intensive care unit (ICU).
The hospital installed the new capnography equipment this spring in conjunction
with the rollout of new smart pump technology for all inpatient and observation
rooms, which closed the patient safety loop with medication administration.
Clinicians must scan their badges, then the patient’s armband, and
finally, the IV medication bag before the drug can be dispensed, providing
a triple check for medication accuracy.
Atlantic General Hospital chose capnography equipment from Covidien, a
leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator
in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices.
“We commend Atlantic General Hospital for being part of a growing
number of facilities across the country committed to patient safety through
the use of capnography,” said Robert J. White, President, 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
About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the
residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties
since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated
community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md.,
combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology
and services. It provides quality specialty care such as retina surgery,
weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals
with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, and a comprehensive women’s
diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more
than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and
visitors throughout the region. For more information visit Atlantic General Hospital.