While medical, dental, and oral surgery practices can differ in many ways, most practices have one thing in common: they make patient safety and comfort their top priorities. One way in which practices can promote the wellbeing of their patients is by providing a range of sedation options, ensuring patients can receive the necessary procedures without experiencing significant pain.
One thing that all practitioners should keep in mind is that sedation, when administered improperly or unsafely, can actually compromise patient safety. By following clear sedation safety standards, your practice can minimize this risk, provide patients with peace of mind, and even achieve important accreditations.
The Risks of Sedation
To sedate a patient safely, medical and dental practitioners administer a precise blend of medications, often in gas form. If the blend of medications is off by even a small amount, it can cause problems, including the potential for the heart to stop or the brain to take on lasting damage. While not extremely common, these ill effects certainly warrant consideration.
This is an especially important area for dentists and oral surgeons to consider. While sedation dentistry has been on the rise in recent years, dental sedation equipment is not always subject to the same high levels of scrutiny found in medical or general surgical practices.
The Importance of Compliance
A document from the National Fire Protection Association, called NFPA 99, gives oral health practitioners a safeguard. Going back as far as the 1920s, the NFPA has provided clear standards for the safe and efficacious use of medical sedation equipment. Compliance with NFPA guidelines is often cited by patient safety advocates as an essential way to curb sedation risks. Now, NFPA guidelines have been updated to more clearly reflect safety standards for sedation dentistry and oral surgery.
Today, oral health facilities can seek certification with NFPA 99, an important way of signaling to patients that health and safety are top priorities. In order to achieve this high level of certification, facilities must demonstrate that their sedation equipment is installed and maintained to the same high standards observed by medical practices. In other words, patient safety and wellbeing are largely dependent on the quality of the technology that is used within the facility.
The main reason why practices might seek this certifications is to keep patients safe. However, it should also be noted that safety certifications and accreditations can often be used to shield the practice from potential litigation, should something go wrong.
What should your practice do as it seeks compliance with these rigorous, exacting standards of sedation safety? One of the core considerations is finding a provider of surgical equipment, including sedation machinery, that truly puts safety first.
At HampMED, we are committed to setting up surgical centers in a way that aligns with the highest possible standards of safety. As you consider ways to ensure your facility is truly safety-centered, and even as you pursue certification with NFPA or a related organization, we invite you to learn more about our ongoing commitment to safety. Contact the team at HampMED at your next opportunity.