COVID has changed virtually everything about respiratory care. For many agencies, respiratory emergencies requiring suction were once relatively rare, especially in some regions. Now, they’re a standard part of daily care, and every care provider must become a suction expert.
Portable suction machines allow you to tend to patients on a moment’s notice, without moving them through crowded facilities or delaying care. Here are some considerations to explore when choosing a portable suction machine for your urgent care clinic or surgical center.
Consider Suction Power
It doesn’t matter what your typical patient population needs, how old they are, or what respiratory issues you treat. Consistent suction is critical for patients of all ages and backgrounds. When a machine delivers consistent, reliable suction, you are less likely to notice suction-induced complications such as hypoxia.
You’ll have fewer negative outcomes, too, because you’ll be able to treat patients effectively with the first pass. SSCOR’s Aspirator Test Kit can help you assess whether your current machine is delivering consistent suction.
Look at Durability
Every machine eventually gives out due to daily wear and tear. Small cracks can create big health issues when they allow pathogens to enter the machine, so a machine that can withstand the test of time is critical no matter how many patients you serve.
Check the machine’s specifications to see whether it offers a specific time guarantee or suggests it can serve a certain number of patients without deteriorating. The more patients your agency serves in a year, the more important it will be to invest in a more durable machine.
Assess Ease of Use
It doesn’t matter how effective a machine is, or how long it will last. If it’s impossible for your team to use, suction complications and errors will increase, and some team members may needlessly delay suction. Consider how easily providers can use the machine. Some factors to look at include:
- Is the machine compatible with the attachments you already have?
- How easy is the machine to disassemble and clean?
- Is it easy to make assembly errors that render the machine unusable?
- How easy is it to store the machine?
- How quickly can the typical team member assemble and begin to use the machine?
- How long is the battery life?
- Do your team members consistently report the same problems with your current suction machine? How might a new machine fix this issue?
Know Your Service Pattern
How many patients are you serving in a day? A month? A year? How has COVID shifted this pattern, and how do you anticipate it changing as COVID winds down?
You must ensure you have enough suction machines to serve all of your patients. So consider not only how long a machine might last, but also how many machines you might need. Not only will more machines allow you to serve more patients, but they will also reduce wear and tear, allowing each individual machine to last longer.
Consider Battery Life
If your machine’s batteries are constantly dying, it’s unusable—no matter how much you paid for it or how efficient it is. Choose a machine that can fully charge overnight, and that boasts a long battery life. Then make sure you can afford to purchase a few extra batteries to store with each machine so that there’s always a backup in the event of a busy suctioning day.
Every agency needs something a little different. For some, a single-suction machine might last for years, while others need multiple machines just to get through the winter illness season. For help selecting the right suction machine for your agency, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.