The start of the new year provides a great opportunity for reassessing your field procedures. Perhaps you are working with new personnel. Or you’ve been promoted to a new position, where you will oversee fellow employees. No matter the degree of change the new year ushers in, it is always a good idea to reflect on your daily treatment regimes. Are they working? Are they efficient? Perhaps some continuing education is in order, or maybe new equipment should be added to your assemblage.
Medicine is a dynamic field. And as a healthcare provider, it is your responsibility to keep up to date. So, perhaps now would be a good time to revisit your established suctioning procedure.
Always Be Prepared
In order to implement a new or existing suctioning procedure, you must first be sure to keep your portable suction unit in working order. This includes:
- Keeping the unit charged
- Replacing old or malfunctioning batteries
- Keeping the unit clean
- Keeping it accessible
- Checking the unit at the start of each shift
The first step in an effective suctioning procedure is to properly maintain your unit so that it is always fully functional when needed.
Keep It on Hand
Suctioning procedures are only effective if the portable suction unit is part of your normal response assemblage. The unit is of no use if it’s left behind on the truck or stowed in an inaccessible location. Here are a few tips:
- Bring it on ALL respiratory calls.
- Incorporate it into your ALS assemblage, along with the monitor, drug box, and airway bag.
- If manpower is limited, utilize a smaller unit that can be carried within the airway bag.
- Just because the call is not respiratory in nature, it doesn’t mean you won’t need suction. These patients may also require suctioning:
- Cardiac arrest
As with any procedure, there should be a natural flow of responsibility when it comes to suctioning. Designating an individual to be in charge of the suction unit will ensure it isn’t missed. Here are a few suggestions:
- Make sure the unit is part of your daily equipment check.
- Designate the suction unit’s checkout to an individual or position on the rig.
- Determine beforehand who will handle intubation and who will handle suctioning, because these tasks occur simultaneously on scene.
- Designate equipment carries for each individual on the rig so that the suction unit is never left behind.
Revisiting your established suctioning procedure assumes you already have one in operation. If you lack an established procedure, now is a great time for implementation. Effective suctioning is one of the most vital treatments you provide for your patients, so be sure you have the necessary procedures in place.