3 Signs You Should Update Your Enteral Feeding System
Is your old enteral feeding system placing patients at risk? Here are three signs that it may be time to upgrade to ENFit® products.
ENFit® products are compliant with ISO standard 80369-3, which means they use a distinct connector lock that can only be used with other enteral connectors, tubing, and syringes. This standardized design prevents potentially harmful misconnections between feeding systems, IVs, and other types of tubing.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA) has extended its timeline for phasing out legacy enteral feeding systems to focus production exclusively on ISO-compliant connectors. GEDSA and its member manufacturers will no longer offer legacy feeding systems and cross-application adaptors after July 1, 2021, and will phase out transitional adaptor sets after January 1, 2022. With these deadlines in mind, hospitals around the world are well on their way to embracing ENFit® products. The European Union, Australia, and New Zealand have led the charge, with each close to complete conversion to ENFit® enteral connectors.
Progress in other regions has been slower, though — in North America, for instance, the conversion rate sits at around 30 percent. Some procurement managers or hospital stakeholders may think their existing feeding systems are sufficient and might not feel the need to update their systems. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following issues, it might be time to update your systems.
1. You’ve struggled with misconnections or disconnections in the past.
Many older enteral feeding systems use luer-slip or luer-lock fit syringes, which are compatible with IV, respiratory, and neuraxial connectors. Misconnections occur when two incompatible therapeutic systems are connected and can result in serious harm to patients, including death. Analysis of 116 case studies involving misconnections found that 21 patients died from these mistakes. However, misconnections that don’t cause serious harm are often classified as medication errors, so the number of associated injuries and fatalities is likely higher than reported.
Older enteral connectors also can be easily dislodged, making them prone to disconnections. This can result in a lack of nutrition, fluids, and medication for patients and a waste of resources for hospitals. Considering the additional concerns and precautions involved in caring for vulnerable NICU patients, it’s critical for hospital procurement managers to minimize the potential for human error in high-pressure environments.
Since ENFit® enteral connectors can only establish secure, one-to-one connections to other ENFit® products, the likelihood of a misconnection is drastically reduced. Also, ENFit® products feature leak-proof screw-top connectors that don’t pull apart easily to prevent accidental disconnections.
2. It’s hard to keep your enteral connectors and NICU tubing organized.
Many NICUs rely on color-coding or other visual markers to differentiate which connectors and tubes go together. However, multiple different labels, tubing sizes, transitional adaptors, and single-use products all in one space can quickly increase the potential for human error and misconnections. As such, color-coding is not a sustainable solution on its own.
With ENFit® products, nurses can rely on the security of the connection — not worn-out labels or visual cues — to ensure they’re giving their patients the best care. That’s why ENFit® products are the best way to keep NICU enteral feeding systems organized and prevent accidental harm.
3. You want to make your NICU more efficient.
NICU nurses are trained for precision and speed, but they can always use a little help. ENFit® products only connect to other ENFit® ends, meaning nurses don’t have to worry about mismatched components and can spend less time tracking down adaptors and triple-checking their connections. ENFit® products ensure a secure, leak-proof connection each and every time, so your nurses can work quickly, safely, and efficiently.
Since ENFit® products use unique connector locking mechanisms that are only compatible with other enteral feeding system components, they are more versatile than most legacy products. For instance, ENFit®-equipped pump feed syringes can also be used for gravity feeding applications. This helps maximize efficiency by reducing the number of single-use products in your NICU and eliminating large tangles of tubes. By updating their enteral feeding systems to ENFit®, procurement managers and hospital stakeholders gain access to an entire suite of safe, reliable, and effective tools that are applicable to a variety of feeding applications.
Getting Started with ENFit® Connection Systems
ENFit® systems are key to guaranteeing better health outcomes for NICU patients and preventing human error in high-pressure, high-stakes environments. There’s plenty of time left for hospital stakeholders to embrace ENFit® products, drive positive change, and make a commitment to updating their enteral feeding systems, but they should start thinking about this shift as soon as possible.
Kentec Medical can help hospital stakeholders understand the advantages of ENFit® products and work with procurement managers to get updated enteral connectors into their hospitals. We are committed to delivering value and benefits to patients and hospitals alike through unparalleled customer service. We specialize in working closely with procurement managers and facility staff, and our teams are standing by to help you transition to ENFit® enteral connectors.
Bagian, J. P., Frederico, F., & Barnsteiner, J. H. (2014, August 20). Managing risk during transition to new ISO tubing connector standards. Sentinel Alert Event, (53). doi:https://www.jointcommission.org/-/media/deprecated-unorganized/imported-assets/tjc/system-folders/assetmanager/sea_53_connectors_8_19_14_finalpdf.pdf?db=web&hash=5259E85202D5CE621294E9C46E8ED86C
ENFit Conversion: A Global Perspective [PDF]. (2020, August). Columbus, Ohio: Global Enteral Device Supplier Association.
ISO 80369-3:2016. (2017, November 08). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.iso.org/standard/50731.html