Safety measures for working with mechanically ventilated patients who are COVID-19 positive or a PUI

As we encounter new challenges during the pandemic, we learn ways to best manage unfamiliar situations and keep each other safe.

The Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at main campus developed best practices for caregivers working with, repositioning or transporting patients who are mechanically ventilated (endotracheal or tracheostomy) and either COVID-19 positive or a Person Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. These practices help ensure ventilator connections are secure and minimize the risk of exposures related to tube disconnections during patient movement. Care activities for patients with an unsecure tube require the same precautions as aerosol generating procedures to prevent exposure to COVID-19.

Caregivers at all Ohio and Florida locations who are working in ICUs or imaging areas, as well as those repositioning or transporting mechanically ventilated patients who are either COVID-19 positive or a PUI, must follow the protocol below. Please support fellow team members in doing the same.

Standard protocol for providing care to mechanically ventilated patients who are COVID-19 positive or a PUI

  1. Check and secure all endotracheal or tracheostomy tubing and ventilator connections before providing additional patient care.
  2. If two caregivers are in the room providing patient care, the second caregiver should stabilize the tube and connection when repositioning or transporting the patient.
    1. If a second caregiver is not available to secure the tubing connections, caregivers should don Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) per our recommendations for performing an aerosol generating procedure, in case the tubing is unsecure.

A checklist will be available at the bedside to remind caregivers of these steps.

Thank you for your commitment to patient and caregiver safety.