We have some of the coolest toys at the bedside. No doubt about it. The advancements in health care and the ‘toys’ that have been developed in response to those advancements can be mind boggling. Really.
But, the last time I checked none of these ‘awesome’ devices mean squat if they are not used properly. Take for instance the most basic of devices, the blood pressure cuff:
The phones in the rooms are somewhat of a nuisance. They are an all in one handset that is on a cord to the wall. They are frequently not where you want them, the cord is tangled in power lines to pumps and polar cares or IV tubing, and are always falling to the floor.
One patient was a genius. His BP cuff had been left wrapped around the handle part of the upper railing. He merely adjusted it so that the top of the cuff had a larger opening than the lower part and set the phone in the middle of the cuff, using it as a holster! Phone is now at the ready, isn’t bouncing all around, and isn’t underneath him causing skin issues.
RN2B’s story just reminds me of the time we had a pulse oximeter reading of 82%. There was no one in the room. The patient had been discharged. Upon entrance to the room, the pulse ox was dangling on the monitor hooks.
Apparently the oxygen content in the room was 82%??
OH! And I lost count how many times a BP reading on a monitor was ‘amiss’. Either it was drastically low or ridiculously high. Checking the patient and their condition to only find the cuff was not even attached to the patient (It was balled up next to their arm). I always loved the patient response of "that darn cuff kept tightening up on me”.
It just goes to show you – you always check your patient (duh). The monitor and its equipment are only as good as the person utilizing it.