In 2006, PHS conducted a survey to assess in-home caregiver emergency preparedness: The survey included assessments of caregivers’ essential skills and knowledge relating to equipment, oxygen safety and use, emergency resuscitation bag function and use, and emergency response procedures. While caregivers were found to be skilled in routine daily care, there was a demonstrated need for additional education and training, particularly in oxygen use and safety.
As a result, PHS developed the STAR Kit, education materials and tools designed to enhance patient safety in the home. The kit includes informational DVDs, safety checklists and reminders, troubleshooting guides, equipment tags and an emergency action plan. Training was provided and the STAR Kit was given free of charge to PHS families, homecare providers and referring physicians. The kit also became part of PHS’s education program.
A follow up survey in 2007 demonstrated marked improvement, but PHS believed even more could be done. Elements of the program were adjusted, and in 2011, survey results indicated even greater improvement. In 2013, we’ve seen improvement in areas across the board. With the implementation of the STAR kit, there has been overall improvement in all five of the areas assessed in the survey — equipment assessment, emergency backup equipment/batteries, oxygen safety, emergency AMBU bag and emergency patient response.
Is the back up equipment properly charged?
Can the caregiver change an oxygen cylinder?
Can the caregiver determine how long a tank will last at a given liter flow?
Can the caregiver demonstrate how to check the AMBU bag to ensure it is working properly?
Can the caregiver demonstrate knowledge that the emergency bag/bedside supplies are fully stocked?
Can the caregiver determine what they would do in the event of an obstructed trach?
PHS recognized a need for in-home caregivers to be better prepared for emergencies in the home and developed the STAR Kit. This educational tool has proven effective in caregiver training and as an aid in the actual care of patients.
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The rate of catheter infections in PHS patients is extremely low, even though many PHS patients are chronically ill and receive complex catheter treatments from PHS.
The PHS STAR Kit allows caregivers to continually improve their knowledge of equipment use and be prepared to handle emergencies at home.