Disposable Blood Pressure Cuffs: A Safer Alternative
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Health care acquired infections are avoidable and not only cause patient suffering but are also costly to the hospitals. These unintentional infections cost hospitals approximately 35-45 billion dollars per year. Blood pressure (BP) cuffs are potential reservoirs for bacteria and using disposable cuffs could eliminate one way of transmission of disease from patient to patient.
Does the use of disposable BP cuffs as opposed to reusable BP cuffs decrease infection rates in inpatient adults during their hospital stay?
A search on Medline, Academic Search Premier and CINAHL revealed one randomized control trial, one controlled trial, four case control studies, one qualitative study pertaining to our topic. The search of literature found research supporting the use of disposable BP cuffs to decrease the spread of bacteria, demonstrated the cost effectiveness of the cuffs and the financial benefits to the hospitals.
Integration into Practice
Students presented findings to an orthopedic unit at a regional hospital in 2014. Many Registered Nurses were in attendance as well as a manager, human resources representatives, Chief Nursing Officer of the hospital and the Vice President of Operations. Students proposed, based on evidence, to change practice by adopting disposable BP cuffs.
The presentations validity spurred action. Our information and suggestions were taken to Lean Six Sigma meeting and considered. Our exact goal was not implemented, but changes were made based on our findings. BP cuffs were replaced on some units to increase sanitation, but were the reusable type. The hospital’s microbiologist was prompted to conduct a more extensive literature search. Furthermore, the nursing students gained knowledge of evidence based practice principles as well as the power of evidence in affecting change in the clinical setting.
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