Author: Bill Calhoun, Jr., RPh, Clinical Affairs Manager
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape and created a new “normal” for us all. This virus has sickened people worldwide. The United States is leading all countries with confirmed cases, and reliable information is available from websites such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Data originating from China, the pandemic’s epicenter, indicates that about 80% of the people infected experience mild symptoms and fully recover, while 20% become severe or critically ill, requiring hospitalization and ICU beds. This rapid increase in COVID-19 patients increases the demand for available resources and places significant strains upon our healthcare system. As this pandemic progresses, healthcare systems must expand their capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, and clinicians are finding new ways to free up resources for medication infusions.
COVID-19 is a whole-body disease, not just a respiratory disease. While pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are associated with severe and critically ill patients, data has revealed that the treatment of these patients is truly multidisciplinary. Meaning the most severe COVID-19 patients may require circulatory support, renal replacement therapy, convalescent plasma treatment, blood purification treatment, immunotherapy, sufficient caloric intake, and electrolyte management in addition to respiratory support. COVID-19 patients are creating an increased strain on healthcare systems that are currently at capacity.
Healthcare Systems are identifying ways to ensure adequate resources to treat COVID-19 patients. They are expanding their capacity to provide care by freeing up multi-channel complex infusion pumps using small ambulatory infusion pumps or disposable elastomeric pumps for patients requiring only single medication infusions.
The use of disposable, single-infusion elastomeric pumps not only frees-up multi-channel infusion pumps, but they also reduce the risk of cross-contamination between patients and healthcare personnel. FDA-approved elastomeric pumps have been used for over 30 years and are proven to be a simple, safe, and accurate means of fixed-rate infusions. They are a cost-effective infusion option that includes the medication container with integrated administration tubing. Elastomeric pumps, like the SMARTeZ® pump from EPIC Medical, are available in many volume and flow rate options and can provide a disposable medication infusion route for institutions to consider.
These simple pump solutions are expanding healthcare facilities’ ability to deliver safe and effective medication infusions to their patients in a time where resources are limited. Our healthcare capacity is expected to fall short of demand, and a pandemic is upon us. Providing new resources and evolving new methods of care will help our healthcare personnel save lives and win this fight.