4 reasons to consider single-use suctions for your theatre department!

If you have chosen to read this blog, you are likely to be a frequent user of suction handles in your theatre department. Imagine a day when you have zero issues with suction handles – no dirty suctions, no jagged edges, no awkwardly bent suctions, and most importantly, no annoyed surgeons!

We know that reusable suction handles are still widely used across many theatres. There are several scenarios caused by reusable suction handles in theatre, all of which can end up hurting patient outcomes, and in turn, your hospital’s reputation. Many theatre departments are now stocking a box or two single-use suction as a backup to reusable suction handles. They refer to it as their “insurance policy”. In this article, we will cover some of the issues with reusable suction handles, and how having single-use suctions available for your procedures can overcome these issues.

Common issues with Reusable Suction Handles:

Picture this. You’re in the middle of a busy day, everything is running smoothly. Your team are prepping your instrument sets for the next procedure. Then, one of the following scenarios happens:

Scenario 1:

When setting out your Frazier Suctions, your team notice your commonly used size has a severely jagged edge, which must have been caught by a drill or sharp instrument the last time it was used.

Scenario 2:

Your team notices that there is still some debris in the suction tube from previous procedures, posing significant infection control issues and risks.

Scenario 3:

The suction handle in the tray has been bent many times by your surgeons, all wanting to customize the suction to their personal preference. This has rendered the suction almost unusable, with blockage during your procedure inevitable.

All these scenarios are common occurrences in theatres around New Zealand and leave nursing teams with 3 possible options on how to deal with them.

Option 1 – Just continue, despite the potential risks – In a busy environment, too often, it’s just easier to carry on. 

Consequence – As is obvious from the scenarios outlined above, the risk of carrying on includes adverse patient outcomes. With suctions not fit for purpose, or carrying possible cross-contamination risks, the patient outcomes could be significantly impacted, involving medical complications, surgical site infections, and a longer stay and recovery for your patient.

Option 2 – Open a new tray to locate a suction handle that can be used for your procedure.

Consequence – The most obvious consequence of opening a second tray is cost. Although the exact cost of sterilising a tray of instruments can vary depending on the instruments used, or the number of instruments in the tray, both time and actual cost are significant, normally over $150 per tray. In a world where hospital resources are maxed out, it can also mean that the last patient on your list of the day has to be cancelled as you have used two instrument sets for one surgery. This causes your team more work in rescheduling surgeries, more stress in prepping for your cases, and constantly puts pressure on your surgery waiting lists.

Option 3 – Open a single-use suction from your sterile store.

Consequence – This option stands out as the smart choice for your theatre teams. 1-2 minutes are needed to grab a suction from your sterile store, it increases your costs for the procedure by $15-30 depending on the suction chosen. However, you have entire confidence that patient outcomes are not being sacrificed, and you are uninterrupted in your surgery schedule keeping your teams, surgeons and patients happy.

With several single-use suction options available on the market, the 4 reasons to consider single-use suctions for your theatre department are:

  1. Cost – Single-use suctions are the smart choice when it comes to cost. It is substantially more cost-effective than opening extra trays to secure workable instruments.
  2. Patient Outcomes – Single-use suctions give you peace of mind that no issues are caused during surgery such as infections, or trauma from jagged suction tips.
  3. Smooth workflows – Single-use suctions minimize blockage during surgery and allow your teams to focus on the case, rather than finding an acceptable reusable suction handle.
  4. Minimal delays – Single-use suctions allow you to quickly continue with your surgery schedule, minimizing delays for your surgeons and patients.

Hallmark Surgical has been providing Eakin Surgical suction handles for over 15 years and has seen many hospitals benefit from stocking these products. If you would like to eliminate issues with your reusable suction handles today, reach out to the team to learn about how Eakin Suctions can make your life easier.