Preparing for Updates to Enteral Connectors
A number of patients on service with PHS utilize enteral and non-enteral systems related to their feedings, respiratory care, or other therapies. However, after reports of enteral misconnections (defined as an inadvertent connection between an enteral feeding system and a non-enteral system such as an intravascular catheter, peritoneal dialysis catheter, tracheostomy, medical gas tubing, etc.), steps are being taken to ensure misconnections can no longer take place.
Taking Steps to Ensure Accuracy
In order to increase patient safety, reduce the risk of misconnections and create international consistency, manufacturers of enteral products are working on creating a new lock method for correctly matched enteral connectors.
Previously manufacturers have introduced color to try to prevent misconnections, but because colors are not standardized across device types, that method is not always successful. There may be a green connector for an enteral device, IV device, and a respiratory device.
To resolve the connector issue once and for all, a handful of design changes were emphasized, including making incorrect connections impossible, creating a physical barrier to ensure the most effective prevention, and designing the entire line of connections to be unique to prevent mistakes.
Using ISO for Standards
To drive changes, the International Organization for Standardization will be used to set global standards for manufacturers to subscribe to. They have made requirements for small bore connectors to not be connectable with others in the series, be rigid or semi-rigid, go through a misconnection test, and be non-connectable with luer or needleless connector ports.
Communication and Education
To learn more about the new lock method connectors and read frequently asked questions or tips for getting ready for the change, you can visit www.stayconnected2014.org to stay connected or talk to your PHS clinician.
PHS recognizes that this could be a big change for some of our parents and caregivers and is doing everything we can to make for a smooth transition during this change. We will be creating new education tools around the connectors, and will provide these materials to those using the affected supplies as soon as they are available.
The new connectors will begin to be available in 2015, and we will be sure to do everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible for our families and caregivers alike.
Originally published: July 28, 2014