STOP (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan)? Should HBO Techs Implement a Time-out Prior to Treating the Patients in the Chamber?

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I read an article by Ken Capek, RRT, CHT in Focus Journal (Respiratory Care and Sleep Medicine) and it struck me as a similar situation I had many times. Patient’s sometimes attempt to “smuggle” items into the chamber or simply forget because they were not properly checked by the HBO tech prior to therapy. Busy clinics with a million things happening all at once can fluster even self proclaimed multi-taskers which can result in safety lapses. I always hear the line “That’s why we have a pre-treatment checklist” prior to placing the patient in the chamber. Are you really using that checklist though? I have seen techs simply check off the checklist after the patient is already in the chamber, especially when the checklist is on an Electronic Medical Record (on the computer).

This brings me to think that a “TIME-OUT” similar to what is performed prior to surgery (to evaluate whether the right part of the body is indeed the part that needs surgery) is necessary in any HBO setting. Mr. Capeks’ article on this subject is excellent and I commend him for letting us post it on this site. Furthermore, I believe that even if you do have an electronic checklist it would be advisable to have a printed checklist that may be on a clipboard, carried in your scrub pocket, or clipped onto your Hospital ID badge just as a 2nd safety reminder, this checklist maybe used to write pre and post treatment vitals as well. How many times have you had to dig thru the garbage to find that pair of gloves you wrote all the vitals on? C’mon, we’ve all done it. I hope that this article is helpful and it gives you something to think about.

READ KEN CAPEK’S ARTCLE ON “TO ERR IS HUMAN” HERE

DOWNLOAD THE PRINTED CHECKLIST HERE – NOTE: This checklist maybe used on a clipboard, or cut into strips and used per patient per treatment. It is not a Hospital or chart form, it is a temporary sheet of information that can be used while you are running around the clinic.

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