There are many goals during a surgery. High on the list are protecting the patient, minimizing complications, and improving patient outcomes. These goals fit closely together, and there are some seemingly obvious ways to move them all in a positive direction.
1. Respect the Sterile Field
A lot of attention is paid to the sterile field and a lot of resources are spent in prep and draping. Yet many positioning accessories cause us to puncture the drapes or make attachments outside the sterile field. The right equipment can help you avoid these violations.
2. Use equipment that is easier to clean
Avoid equipment that has hidden surfaces that cannot be reached. Some manufacturers only expect their equipment to be rinsed because of components such as springs and hinges that cannot be disassembled and tend to leave behind organic debris. Choose equipment that can be wiped and all surfaces can be reached. This will allow more thorough cleaning, and can reduce the risk of complications.
3. Use disposable items that contact the patient
A prime example is positioning pads. Gel pads do a great job of pressure distribution, but also must be cleaned after each use, and hold the potential of carrying organic matter and organisms from one case to another. Where they are available, disposable pads are a great alternative. They not only save labor, but also reduce the potential for contamination transfer between cases.
4. Avoid pressure injury
The distribution of pressure evenly against the patient is key here. Positioners that have broad smooth contact surfaces can be the best. Everyone is trained to pad contact points with the patient and to avoid pressure on boney prominence’s. But sometimes the padding we choose can create the problem. Wrinkles and thickness variation can cause concentrated pressure points. If possible, chose padding that holds flat against the surface to distribute the pressure more evenly.
5. Provide proper and appropriate support
The function of positioning equipment is to hold the patient in a solid orientation that is appropriate for the surgery being performed. Most equipment performs this task, but leaves the protection of the non-operative portions of the patient to the discretion of the staff. It is beneficial to review positioning guidelines from groups such as AORN on a regular basis.
6. Minimize connecting tissue damage/ soft tissue disruption
Not all positioning equipment is created equal. Modern equipment can provide stability and access during the procedure that can aid the surgeon with techniques that preserve soft tissue and reduce operative time, resulting in improved outcomes and shortened recovery time. It is worth the effort to look at new positioning technologies and how they can benefit your procedure.
2018 will prove to be an interesting year as it relates to patient safety. We encourage everyone to expand their position on surgical equipment and explore new options that can better protect the patient, minimize complications, and improve patient outcomes You can trust that Match Grade Medical is dedicated to providing patient positioning equipment that is easier to clean, easier to use, more versatile, and has an unequaled respect for the sterile field. Positioning does matter, this year let us be your partner in improving your position. Reach out to us today for more information on all of our equipment.