From experience, numerous hospitals are unsure what level of stress their oxygen system are capable of handling.
During the first wave of COVID-19, when a higher than normal demand for oxygen was identified, some systems were exposed as having insufficient flow capabilities.
Several hospitals had to limit oxygen to safeguard supplies, and in one well documented incident staff had to move patients out of the hospital to prevent complete system failure.
With a second wave now inevitable, the only way to know if your oxygen system is fully prepared is through a thorough analysis of its flow capability.
It is important to understand the accurate increase in oxygen demand that you may face in terms of volume of oxygen and flow rates required simultaneously across your hospital site – not just individual departmental terminal units.
In basic terms, you need to simulate the potential demand that COVID-19 could have on the site-wide oxygen system, rather than testing individual areas.
We do this in stages:
- We calculate the existing flow rates for individual wards across the entire hospital before any testing is done.
- The increased oxygen flow rates are then applied to any area the hospital identifies as a COVID ready department.
- These calculations – minus the estimated existing consumption rate – allow us to introduce a series of staged metered leaks across the entire system, monitoring and recording both static and flow pressures at every stage.
- We can then establish how likely it will be that the hospital’s COVID ready departments will be able to deliver the necessary oxygen to patients.
We all know the value of planning in the next few weeks cannot be overstated, so ensure you’ve included your site wide oxygen flow tests in your preparations.