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3 Preventable Infusion Pump Problems

Mar. 02, 2022

Advances in technology have made our hospitals and healthcare facilities safer. However, even the best efforts to improve patient safety can be derailed when human behavior is added to the mix. In many cases, human error is the culprit for some of the most common problems with infusion pumps. Let's take a closer look at three common problems with this type of hospital equipment, and how you can easily prevent them.


Improper equipment cleaning

Pump cleaning procedures need to be followed regularly and accurately. It's not just the physical cleaning itself; it can also come down to how a given piece of equipment is transported and whether those methods may be unsafe.

Ultimately, preventing these errors comes down to following all manufacturer recommendations and facility regulations for cleaning the pump and all other instruments. Proper training for a given pump also plays a key role, as does the timely replacement of outdated equipment.

3 Preventable Infusion Pump Problems

Dosing errors

Smart pumps make dosing errors much less likely, which has led to their growing popularity. However, this technology is not completely reliable. While there are several safety mechanisms that can prevent a large number of infusion errors, these are sometimes overlooked by staff.

To prevent accidental or intentional infusion programming incidents, staff must be trained on an ongoing basis and proper procedures must be followed at all times. Protocols must be followed in these situations to prevent potential harm to patients.


Overlooked Alarms

Alarm fatigue can be a real problem in many hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Although smart pumps and other medical devices are equipped with alarms and other warning systems as a precaution to protect patients, being bombarded with too many alarms can actually cause staff to literally tune out the sound. As a result (and through no real fault of their own), the most important alerts can be missed.

Insensitivity to alarm noise can lead to lower patient and staff satisfaction, among other issues. To ensure patient safety, proper training must be prioritized and equipment equipped with alarm alternatives must be investigated to prevent alarm overload. Developing a comprehensive alarm management system should also be a priority for these facilities to assess where vulnerabilities may lie.

Finally, preventing issues such as dosing errors, improper pump cleaning, and missed alarms often comes down to proper training and support. Having the right equipment in place can help improve patient safety and thus make a difference in your facility.