kind of material, regardless of what purpose the draping is intended to accomplish.
Steam vaporizers, hot foods, and liquidsthese are common causes of patient burns. When using steam vaporizers, ensure that the vapor of steam does not flow directly on the patient as a result of the initial positioning of the equipment or by accidental movement or bumping. Patients may be more sensitive to hot foods and liquids and more likely burned. Also, due to lack of coordination, weakness, or medication, patients may be less able to handle hot foods and liquids safely without spilling.
In the direct patient care units as well as in diagnostic and treatment areas, there are unlimited potentials for inflicting burns on patients. When modern electrical and electronic equipment and potent chemicals used for diagnosis and treatment are used properly they contribute to the patients recovery and rehabilitation. When these are used carelessly or improperly, these same sources only cause the patient additional pain and discomfort, serious illness, and, in some cases, even death.
Often when we speak of safety measures, one of our first thoughts is of a fire or an explosion involving the loss of life or injury to a number of people. Good housekeeping, maintenance, and discipline help to prevent such mishaps. Remember that buildings that are constructed of fire-resistant materials are not fireproof, and certainly not explosion proof. Good maintenance includes checking, reporting, and ensuring correct repair of electrical equipment, and routine checking of fire fighting equipment by qualified personnel. The education and training of personnel are the most effective means of preventing fires. Used in the context of fire safety measures, good discipline means having a plan to use as outlined in a Fire Bill, having periodic fire drills, and enforcing no-smoking regulations.
Staff members should be familiar with the fire regulations at their duty station and know what to do in case of fire. This includes how to report a fire, use a fire extinguisher, and evacuate patients. When a fire occurs, there are certain basic rules to follow: someone must take charge, remain calm, and notify the fire department and the officer of the day, giving the exact location of the fire. All oxygen equipment and electrical appliances must be turned off unless necessary to sustain life. All windows and doors should be closed and all possible exits clear. All patients must be removed in a calm and orderly fashion, and mustered.
Careless handling of cigarettes is one of the most frequent causes of serious and often fatal accidents. Cigarettes and matches must be removed from the bedside or placed out of reach of the incompetent or irrational patient. Regulations should specify areas and times when smoking is permitted. Patients, visitors, and staff must be informed of the facilitys smoking regulations. To be an effective safety measure, these regulations must be enforced by all staff personnel. Smoking stands and ashtrays should be provided only in areas where smoking is permitted. Metal wastebaskets must be used throughout the hospital. They should NEVER be placed under the bed or used for cigarette disposal. NO SMOKING signs should be visibly displayed in rooms and areas where oxygen and flammable agents are used or stored. In addition to posting NO SMOKING signs, ALL staff must impress upon the patient and visitors the life-threatening dangers of disobeying or ignoring smoking regulations.
In addition to the specifics already presented above, there are some basic principles that are relevant to patient safety. The following concepts should direct the actions of the provider in any health care service environment. Familiarity with the environment makes it less hazardous to the individual.