Safety Devices for the Critical Care Patient Population

Updated on January 15, 2019
Leland Johnson profile image

Leland has been a certified surgical technologist for 29 years. He hopes to help you navigate the treacherous waters of modern healthcare.

Patient care can be unpredictable—especially in critical care settings—which is why it's important to take precautionary measures.
Patient care can be unpredictable—especially in critical care settings—which is why it's important to take precautionary measures. | Source

Caring for the Critical Patient

Most of my medical experience has been in the operating room. However, there have been occasions when I've sat with patients in my hospital's critical/long-term care ward. Caring for these patients can be a daunting task. Sometimes, I would just sit with them by the bedside for many hours. Other times, a patient would flail his arms uncontrollably, and I would have to intervene in such a way as to prevent him from hurting himself or myself.

I remember one patient in particular who was in a palliative setting as he was suffering from terminal brain cancer. It was a challenge to redirect his hands to a resting position. He was heavily sedated, but he still had a lot of pain. I don't claim to have much experience in this area of healthcare, and I have to say, I don't think I'm cut out for it. I feel for the nurses that do this job day in and day out. It is stressful and exhausting. It is also difficult for family members.

Patient Restraints: A Medical Controversy

It's hard enough having to watch a loved one deteriorate in the last stages of life, but it is an added (but sometimes necessary) indignity to see them subdued by restraining devices. Restraints have become controversial in the healthcare field, where they were once the norm. Now, providers do everything they can to avoid restraining patients.

Restraints have been known to cause serious—even deadly—injuries to patients. Such trauma can occur if a patient is attached to an adjacent structure, such as a bed rail. If the bed is elevated or lowered without consideration for the fact that the patient is, for all intents and purposes, tied to the bed, the results can be devastating. Shoulders have literally been pulled out of joint under these instances.

Finding Less Risky Methods of Injury Prevention

For obvious reasons, providers are adopting more creative, less harmful ways of handling patients who would have traditionally been candidates for restraints. Among these methods is sedation, which is currently used as a means to control difficult patients. And when I say "difficult," I should give a more precise definition. I am not talking about "violent" patients that may be criminals or psychotic. I am talking about the following:

  1. Confused patients, which could include patients suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia
  2. Comatose patients with retained movements
  3. Patients who have been surgically sedated
  4. Surgical patients with life-threatening injuries wherein they are sedated for their protection

This patient population is at especially high risk for the following self-inflicted injuries:

  • Pulling out catheters
  • Pulling out PICC lines
  • Pulling out IV's
  • Pulling out colostomy bags

A Real-Life Example of Why Safety Devices Are Necessary

In the course of researching this subject, I came across this sad story in a forum post on AgingCare, How can we prevent my Mother, who has dementia, from pulling out her IV? This man's mother had pulled out several IVs and was becoming dangerously dehydrated.

The post reads:

My mother is in a nursing home and suffering from severe dehydration. Apparently the staff has not been monitoring her fluid intake. She was diagnosed with a UTI a month ago. Her doctor put her on an IV but she keeps pulling the IV line out. Now the staff is asking us to come and stay with her to make sure she does not continue to do that. My sister and I are the only ones who live in the same state and we both work full-time. We cannot just leave our jobs whenever we want. We both go to the nursing home after work and stay until 9 p.m. but we cannot do that during the day. The nursing home is insisting we hire a visiting nurse to monitor her and this is at the family's expense. Has anyone dealt with this before? I suggested putting a mitt on her hand or a glove of some sort. Surely the nursing home can come up with a solution.

Safety Devices for the Hands

"Restraint" is a broad term. Some nurses, I discovered, become defensive just at the mention of the word. Such is their concern regarding restraining a patient. However, it should be understood that a "restraint" doesn't always refer to straps or tie-downs.

For example, a bed rail is technically considered a restraint but does not need a physician's order to be employed. Some of the manufacturers of the following products claim that their devices are not restraints and, therefore, do not need a physician's order to be employed.

Some say the term only applies if a patient's restraining device is attached to an adjacent structure. When it comes right down to it, it may be a matter of hospital policy. Regardless, the following products I've researched appear to offer a safe alternative to traditional restraints while offering similar if not equal protection for the patient, visitors, and caregivers.

  1. Glovy Patient Safety Device by GlovyMed
  2. 2819 Posey Double Security Mitts by Posey
  3. Mesh Padded Mitts

Glovy Patient Safety Device
Glovy Patient Safety Device

Glovy Patient Safety Device

Glovy is made of transparent plastic, allowing caregivers to assess the skin without removing them and disturbing the patient. They also allow monitoring devices to be hooked up. The top is perforated for breathability and comfort. The device is spacious enough to move the wrists and fingers through full ranges of motion.

Video: Glovy Demonstration

2819 Posey Double Security Mitts
2819 Posey Double Security Mitts

Posey Double Security Mitts

The 2819 Posey Double Security Mitts are made in Arcadia, California. While the mitts are soft and do prevent patients from pulling and scratching, they must be removed frequently for skin assessment, which often disturbs the patient.

Air Mesh Padded Mitts
Air Mesh Padded Mitts

Mesh Padded Mitts

These mitts appear to have the same faculty as the Posey mitts. Multiple manufacturers make similar products with a padded interior and mesh lining for breathability and comfort. The one pictured here is made by a company in the Republic of Korea.

Summary

Researching this subject was not enjoyable. Seeing hurting, deteriorating, confused human beings is gut-wrenching, to say the least. I at least found encouragement in the fact that there are products currently being employed to both protect patients and safeguard their dignity. I hope you are encouraged as well.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Leland Johnson

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Leland Johnson 

        6 weeks ago from Midland MI

        Lorna- Thank you for reading and commenting :)

      • profile image

        Lorna Lamon 

        6 weeks ago

        Excellent informative article Leland.

      • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Leland Johnson 

        6 weeks ago from Midland MI

        very difficult to manage. I read that there are thousands of injuries to nurses every year because of patients grabbing their necks, clothing, hair, etc. It's really rough.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        6 weeks ago from USA

        I have some relatives with dementia and sure don't like the thought of this. One is in a home and lashes out at her caregivers. Not a good situation. I didn't know that comatose patients and heavily sedated patients may flail. It's got to be difficult on caregivers and healthcare workers.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healthproadvice.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healthproadvice.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)