Do not allow the use of personal electrical appliances without approval of the safety officer.
Do not put water on an electrical fire.
Do not work with electrical equipment with wet hands or feet.
Have newly purchased electronic medical equipment tested for electrical safety by medical repair before putting it into service.
Operate all electrical and electronic equipment according to manufacturers instructions.
Remove from service electrical equipment that sparks, smokes, or give a slight shock. Tag defective equipment and expedite repair.
Be aware that patients with intravenous therapy and electronic monitoring equipment are at high risk from minor electrical shocks.
Call medical repair when equipment is not functioning properly or public works if there is difficulty with the power distribution system.
Since accidents resulting in physical and chemical burns have initiated numerous consumer claims of health care provider and facility malpractice, all health care personnel must be thoroughly indoctrinated in the proper use of potential hazardous equipment, supplies, and chemicals.
The following discussion will address common causes and precautions to be taken to eliminate the occurrence of injurious burns. Additional information regarding the equipment and specific procedure for its use will be found in the Nursing Procedures Manual.
Hot water bottlesa common cause of burns particularly in the elderly, diabetics, and patients with circulatory impairments. When you are filling the bottle, the water temperature must never exceed 125°F (51°C). Test the bottle for leaks and cover it so that there is a protective layer of cloth between the patient and the bottle itself.
Heating padsthese appliances create a dual hazard of potential burns and electrical shock. The precautions taken when using heating pads are the same ones used for hot water bottles in relation to the kind of patient, temperature control, and protective cloth padding. Precautions to avoid shock consist of proper maintenance of the equipment, preuse inspections and testing of the equipment for wiring and plug defects, and periodic safety inspections that are conducted by medical repair personnel.
Ice bagslike hot water bottles, ice bags can cause skin contact burns. This kind of burn is commonly referred to as local frostbite. The precautions taken for applying ice bags are the same as those for hot water bottles in regard to attention to elderly, diabetic, and circulatory-impaired patients.
Hypothermia blanketslike ice bags, this mode of therapy can also cause areas of contact burns. When using hypothermia blankets, check the patients skin frequently for signs of marked discoloration, indicating indirect localized tissue damage. Ensure that the bare blanket does not come in direct contact with the patients unprotected skin. This is easily accomplished by using sheets or cotton blankets between the patient and the hypothermia blanket itself. When using this form of therapy, follow both the physicians orders and the manufacturers instructions in managing the temperature control of the equipment.
Heat cradleswhen using this equipment, protect the patient from burns resulting from overexposure or placement of the equipment too close to the area of the patient being treated. As with heating pads, heat cradles create a dual hazard such as potential burns and electrical shock. Another hazard to keep in mind is that of fire. Ensure that the bedding and the heat source do not come in direct contact and cause the bedding to ignite. Occasionally heat lamps will be used to accomplish the same results as a heat cradle. Do not use towels, pillow cases, or linen of any kind to drape over heat lamps. In fact, no lamps of any kind should be draped with any