Portable suction can be a quick emergency intervention, a long-term treatment for patients under anesthesia, or a way to maintain safety and hygiene for people on ventilators. No matter how and when you use suction, no matter how routine it seems, it’s important to remember that no patient is routine. Each has their own story and own unique needs. Equally important, each presents a risk of infection and contagion if you do not correctly manage waste and clean up after suctioning. Here are the things you must check every time you use a portable suction machine.
Immediately after suctioning, make sure the patient is doing well. That requires checking vital signs and monitoring for breathing difficulties, but it also demands that you care about the patient’s emotional state. They may have questions about why they needed suctioning, what their prognosis is, or whom they can expect to see next. Though you may have other patients to treat, every patient matters. Answer questions to the best of your ability and refer the patient to additional resources. Make sure they are stable and have a support person present before you leave them.
Any equipment that came into contact with the patient is a potential source of infection, as is any part of your body that has touched this equipment. As COVID has taught us all, hygiene must come first. Wash hands before touching the equipment, then sterilize any potentially contaminated materials and wash hands again. Wash your hands a third time after disposing of any biological waste or garbage.
All waste is potentially contagious, and all patients are potential sources of serious communicable diseases. Let this insight guide your waste disposal strategy. Dispose of any biohazards and other waste immediately, according to your agency’s waste management guidelines. In high-stress hospital environments, it’s particularly tempting to delay hazardous waste management, but that only creates further hazards. Get rid of the waste immediately so that it does not have the chance to spread dangerous infections.
As with managing waste, it’s important to properly and promptly get rid of disposable attachments, as well as incidental supplies like gloves and masks. Don’t stash these items in a bag for later disposal. Doing so increases the risk that they’ll contaminate your equipment or even be accidentally reused. If you must delay disposing of some equipment, dedicate a sealed bag or another secure area to storing this trash so that there is no risk of contact or reuse.
Where and how you store portable suction machines matters more than you might realize. If you do not store your machine in a safe and secure location, it could come into contact with patient fluids and hazardous waste, potentially spreading communicable disease. Improper storage may also shorten the life of your machine.
For example, if you store a machine without first cleaning it, parts may mold or break down. If you are not diligent about how you store your equipment, you may lose vital parts or find that your batteries are not fully charged when you next need to suction a patient. Taking a few extra moments to store all detachable parts in a convenient location, clean the machine, and seal everything up saves lives, frustration, and ultimately, time.
When packing up the machine, make a note of any equipment you’re running low on, such as gloves, disposable attachments, or replacement batteries. Put an order in for these items before you run out to avoid delays and ensure you’re always prepared to offer prompt and comprehensive care.
The right portable emergency suction machine helps you better serve your patients by offering prompt treatment, reducing the need for transport, and minimizing exposure to infectious agents.
Portable equipment is easy to use and often requires less setup and breakdown, allowing you to quickly move from one patient to another. No matter whom you serve or where, your agency needs a portable suction machine. For help selecting the right one for your organization, download our free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.