Patient Safety Week 2023 is the Time to Implement Safe Nasogastric Feeding Tube Placement

Updated on March 16, 2023

Patient Safety Week is from March 12th to 18th this year. The focus of this week is to raise awareness among medical teams of specific patient risks and to promote information on how staff can provide more optimal patient care in hospitals. One of the most significant parts of the week is highlighting the latest medical devices like ENvizion Medical’s ENvue system, which improves patient safety. The ENvue System does this by assisting in the accurate, safe, and timely placement of nasogastric feeding tubes in a more standardized fashion.

Post-pandemic nurse turnover rates in hospitals, especially in the ICU, have been high. These rates raise concerns about insufficient education regarding patient safety risks in standard medical procedures, such as nasogastric feeding tube placement. As staff circulates and new nurses join teams, all personnel must be trained per hospital policy and receive the appropriate resources to ensure patient safety. In response to these challenges, hospitals are determined to implement modern technology for better effectiveness, accuracy, and patient safety and nutrition.

While there are apparent advancements in the medical world, like artificial intelligence (AI), hospital procedures that receive less attention throughout the year also require the same respect during Patient Safety Week. This year, it is important to explore medical topics, such as safe nasogastric feeding tube placement, that receive little attention but significantly impact patient safety and non-trained nursing staff performance.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “The occurrence of adverse events due to unsafe care is likely one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world.” This concerning statistic brings a new meaning to medical safety and patient vitality.

The WHO continues, “Globally, as many as 4 in 10 patients are harmed in primary and outpatient health care. Furthermore, up to 80% of harm is preventable.” These alarming facts encourage a deeper look into what Patient Safety Week 2023 can mean for the betterment of the healthcare system.

The effects of nursing shortages and staff turnover

The Advisory Board states, “Over the last five years, the average hospital turned over 100.5% of its staff.” These severe nursing shortages and staff turnover rates have intensified the need for better technology and proper hospital staff training to ensure safer procedures. High turnover rates translate into a lack of resources that new nurses can use and learn from during onboarding.

Some issues that arise due to the shortage and turnover include a lack of experts to teach, fewer learning programs, and an insufficient number of tools that students can use to practice. The lack of more holistic training for prospective and current nurses significantly delays any outcomes of ultimate patient success. In the case of safe nasogastric tube placement, this education gap remains problematic.

Misplaced enteral feeding tubes can lead to significant consequences, including lung collapse and insufficient nutrition. Although there are guidelines and techniques for staff to follow when performing this potentially lifesaving procedure, extensive training and certification are not always required or provided for staff performing it. Human error occurs, which leads to delays in the initiation of tube-feeding nutrition. It is standard to insert tubes in the stomach or small bowel (post-pyloric) without proper technology or device assistance to ensure safe placement that avoids patient malnutrition or tube misplacement and harm.

Improper feeding tube placement commonly leads to injury or death. One of the most frequent complications is pneumothorax, also known as lung collapse. Pneumothorax is a severe condition in which air escapes from a patient’s lung due to a tube entering the pulmonary system, leading to lower breathing capacity. Another complication is aspiration pneumonia, when food or liquid is breathed into the airways or lungs. Navigation systems help staff avoid these outcomes.

Implementing proper patient fall recovery methods is key due to busy and understaffed hospital environments, limiting patient injury and increasing patient safety levels. Pertaining to valuable practices such as patient fall prevention, there remains a great need for further education delivered by seasoned nurses. Unfortunately, nurse turnover rates slow staff training overseen by experienced professionals in fall risk assessments, prevention, and recovery.

In addition to training, medical staff around the world should have easy access to fall prevention devices, as patient falls in hospitals continue to hold significant risks. Certain devices allow already overworked nurses to hinder significant patient harm.

According to the CDC, “One out of every five falls causes an injury.” These injuries include broken bones, head injuries, hip fractures, and impaired walking patterns or vision. One of the ways the health field can improve patient safety may be by incorporating more formal requirements in staff intervention responsibilities and using preventative resources.

To avoid the complications associated with feeding tube misplacement, patient falls, and other dangerous hospital occurrences, nurses must frequently utilize quality medical devices. 

Read below to explore a list of devices that help curb the adverse effects of widely known hospital procedures.

Improving hospital care with top medical devices

Feeding tube care and placement are vastly underestimated as medical issues. Not only that, but other processes, like patient fall prevention, need to be more widely understood during Patient Safety Week. Their importance is crucial to patient safety in hospitals.

Thankfully, there are plenty of devices medical teams can implement to combat the gap between routine health education, the nursing shortage, and urgent patient needs.

Performing safe nasogastric tube placement

Feeding tube placement is an important and potentially lifesaving hospital procedure that benefits from technologically advanced alternatives to blind insertion methods. The ENvue System aids hospital staff in safely and properly placing feeding tubes into the stomach or small bowel (post-pyloric) without incorporating the risks associated with blind insertion. These risks include aspiration pneumonia and lung collapse.

The device, developed by ENvizion Medical, uses electromagnetic body mapping technology with integrated navigation sensors to provide safe nasogastric feeding tube placement. In addition, the ENvue system improves hospital patient care by guiding medical staff with accurate visuals on a screen. The screen display shows the tube traveling through the body in real time. This ultimately helps avoid misplacement and supports timely tube feeding to improve patient nutrition.

Aside from more advanced technologies like feeding tube navigation systems, traditional products, such as 3M’s Nasogastric Securement Device, are spotlighted during Patient Safety Week to provide a well-rounded opportunity for improving health education and patient nutrition access in the United States.

Preventing patient fall injuries

Many patients risk falling out of bed in hospitals and at home. Human Care Group’s FloorLine LTC is an ultralow bed for preventable sleep injuries in long-term care. One of the main features is its flexibility. Staff can turn the FloorLine LTC into all standard positions, such as Trendelenburg, reverse Trendelenburg, and cardiac.

This product is an excellent solution to prevent patients from falling out of bed during hospital visits. Its lowest height is 9.5 cm from the floor, allowing for optimal preventative care. The product is revolutionary in the medical field, as “an estimated 248,000 patients fall out of hospital beds each year in the United States,” according to the CDC.

Easing the staff paging process

Michigan Medicine implemented a new system to help with the routinely tedious process of paging colleagues at the hospital. The new Unified Clinical Communication (UCC) system uses iPhones to ease the paging process at Michigan Medicine’s facility. The device is now used by nurses, respiratory therapists, and other inpatient clinicians.

The iPhones are set up at charging stations, and medical workers collect them at the beginning of each shift. This technology allows for easy access to colleagues’ numbers without memorizing them. In addition, the phones are equipped with an app, developed alongside Epic, that enables fast entry to necessary medical records throughout the staff’s working shifts.

The UCC is a significant step in the right direction toward medical staff spending less time communicating and more time caring for patients with the most helpful information at their fingertips. This leads to a new level of patient care and safety, eliminating more complex processes of receiving colleague or patient information.

Enabling patients with better lifts

Medline Electronic introduced a revolutionary lift for transferring non-weight-bearing patients. Their device is called the Hoyer Lift. Lifts provide mobility to patients who cannot perform necessary activities independently, such as bathing and walking.

The Hoyer Lift is a 6-point cradle with sizing options of up to 400 lbs. or 700 lbs. This product is built to assist caregivers and patients with more efficient and safe transfers. The lift features a range of 8” to 71” in., allowing for easy floor pick-ups.

Awareness of the latest patient safety practices is the top priority this Patient Safety Week. Many devices help with high-risk operations, such as nasogastric feeding tube placement, to ensure that nurses and other medical staff perform the proper procedures and provide optimal patient conditions and environments. Investing in the latest medical technology could stimulate a decrease in patient injury and nutrient deficiency in 2023.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.