Proper Preventive Maintenance of Ventilators
Medical equipment that malfunctions or no longer functions can spell disaster for patients in vulnerable situations. This is especially true of patients placed on respiratory ventilators. For that reason, it isn't enough to simply lease or purchase quality equipment. Performing proper preventative maintenance of ventilators is essential to ensuring respiratory patients receive the critical care they need to make a full recovery.
Often, the most straightforward preventative maintenance for ventilators is some of the most effective. For instance, regularly performing quick checks of the systems will go a long way. This involves a brief visual inspection for anything amiss in the wiring, console, or screens. It also involves running a performance check to make sure all the modes of the ventilator and the various alarms are working correctly. This may seem obvious, but amid the daily rush of tending to patients in a pandemic and flu season, it's easy to overlook simple equipment inspections.
Examine Battery Life
You will usually only need to change your ventilator batteries once a year. However, it's important to periodically check the ventilator's battery life, especially for ventilators that experience a high volume of patients. This can be done by unplugging the AC line and checking to see if the ventilator still functions. Facilities should only do this periodically, and, as much as possible, you should make sure the ventilators are not running in the battery mode unless it's necessary.
A ventilator's filter protects the patient from inhaling unsafe materials and protects the machine and those tending to the patient from encountering anything harmful that may be on the patient's breath. Making sure these filters are clean is essential. Medical facilities need to check the specific guidelines of how often they need to change different ventilator filters and whether the frequency varies depending on patient volume.
Disinfecting equipment is standard in hospital settings, but to keep ventilators running properly, disinfecting should not end with the console and tubing. If your ventilators use collector vials, you must remove and clean them often, sometimes even daily, when they experience high use. And, of course, facilities should always disinfect all respiratory equipment before using it on a new patient.
It is important to regularly perform maintenance on all of the ventilators in your facility. The well-being of patients and providing exceptional care is the priority of every healthcare professional. By ensuring that your equipment is properly maintained, you are able to focus on what is important.