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Archive Staff & Patient Safety 2020

Keep Floors Clear and Dry

Eliminate tripping and slipping hazards in the OR to keep staff upright and safe.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief


NEAT IDEA Clutter-free spaces decrease the potential for injury and distractions during action-packed days in the OR.

Be careful, the floor's wet and slippery. Colbie Fredette, RN, absentmindedly repeats that phrase without looking up whenever someone walks into the OR during fluid-heavy ortho cases. "I say it all the time," laughs Ms. Fredette, nurse manager at Boston Out-patient Surgical Suites in Waltham, Mass. "When the floor is wet, it gets slick, and it's easy to slip and fall." She'd rather sound like a broken record than watch one of her teammates break a bone.

To help stem the tide during joint arthroscopies, her facility invested in four mobile fluid collection units — one for each of its three ORs and another to have on standby for fluid-intensive cases — that attach directly to specialized pouches on surgical drapes to keep runoff from hitting the floor. The systems work wonderfully — when they're used.

"We effectively manage fluids during shoulder cases, but some surgeons don't like using the fluid-collection pouches during other procedures," says Ms. Fredette.

Her team therefore sometimes uses towels in which instruments are wrapped during the sterilization process to sop up fluid runoff. It's an effective and economic method, but it's not the safest option for nurses, who have to bend down and pull heavy, water-logged towels off the floor before heaving them into the dirty laundry cart.

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