Saint Francis Health System was finalizing a conversion from legacy feeding tubes and connectors to the new enteral (ENFit) system, when staff recognized the need for a bridge between the hospital and post-acute care setting
The Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA) set a July 2021 deadline for phasing out legacy connectors; however, the process was delayed at many hospitals and health care facilities due to COVID-19 and staffing shortages. The legacy connector enteral devices pose a risk for misconnection as they can be mistakenly connected to intravenous (IV) catheters, respiratory catheters or other devices not intended for enteral use, potentially causing serious harm.
Saint Francis Health System is anchored by a 1,112-bed hospital and includes the region’s only children’s hospital, a level IV neonatal intensive care unit, a 168-bed heart hospital, and Tulsa’s leading trauma and emergency center. The hospital was among the first healthcare providers in eastern Oklahoma to undergo the legacy feeding transition, although the early adaption meant that patients would be discharged with an ENFit connector requiring ENFit-compatible products for nutrition and medication.
“When we got to the seventh or eighth inning of this process, we realized that we would be one of the first organizations in our region sending patients to post-acute care facilities and home with the new enteral system,” said Christy Pisarra RN, acute care director, Saint Francis Hospital.
The hospital sent notices to nearby long-term care facilities and pharmacies, alerting them those patients from Saint Francis would be arriving with the ENFit enteral feeding tube connections. The hospital then worked with their prime vendor supplier, Medline, to create patient discharge kits to ensure uninterrupted use of the enteral feeding system.
Janelle Sams, Medline executive account director, said the Saint Francis kits include five to seven days of products, including a medicine straw, cleaning brush and various-sized syringes. The kits also include discharge information, product codes, and a checklist and websites for securing additional supplies outside of the hospital.
Pisarra said the kits have eased the transition from hospital to home for adult and pediatric patients.
“I would measure success in that no one has returned to the hospital because the next care setting was unable to care for the patient with the new ENFit tube,” said Pisarra. “We’re also not getting a lot of questions. Patients appreciate having a starter kit to get going. For patients who are new to having an enteral tube, it’s overwhelming. This discharge kit is something that is helpful. It’s a really strong resource.”
For the nurses and staff, the kits “keep them from going into the supply room, or just shopping for supplies before patients leave. The kits are very organized. They provide a one-stop solution for what patients and facilities need.”
Learn more about Medline’s portfolio of ENFit products.
Learn more about Medline clinical nutrition solutions.