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White Memorial Medical Center Expands Use of Capnography Respiratory Monitoring To Help Protect Patients on Pain Medication

Awards & Recognition

White Memorial Medical Center recently strengthened patient safety measures by expanding its use of capnography to monitor patients using patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) to regulate their pain after surgery.
 

PCA can provide an effective way to control pain by allowing patients to self-administer small doses of pain medication intravenously, but the technology poses unique risks because the medications used can also suppress the patient's breathing.  The Joint Commission, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices all recommend that hospitals take special precautions including monitoring patients with capnography and oximetry.

Specifically, capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected. Oximetry monitors the patient's blood oxygen levels ensuring that the patient is receiving enough oxygen.

Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals are now deploying capnography after surgery, as well.  Early indication of respiratory depression with capnography enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.

"White Memorial Medical Center is committed to providing the very highest quality patient care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor a patient's breathing is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our dedication to patient safety," said Rick Kenney, the hospital's director of respiratory therapy.

About White Memorial Hospital

White Memorial Medical Center (WMMC) is a 353-bed not-for-profit, faith-based, teaching hospital, which provides a full range of inpatient, outpatient, emergency and diagnostic services to communities in and near downtown Los Angeles.

Keeping our communities healthy has been the mission of White Memorial Medical Center ever since our hospital was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1913.

Today, White Memorial is one of the region's leading not-for-profit hospitals. Services include behavioral medicinecardiac and vascular care, intensive and general medical care, oncologyorthopedic carerehabilitation, specialized and general surgery, and women's and children's services.

As a major teaching hospital, White Memorial also plays an important role in training physicians, nurses and other medical professionals. And we are an employer of choice for the communities we serve.

White Memorial Medical Center is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 31,000 includes more than 22,350 employees; 4,800 medical staff physicians; and 3,850 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 275 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. Visit AdventistHealth.org for more information.