As you know, purchasing and installing AEDs in your school is only the first step to a successful AED program. After installation, AEDs must be maintained to ensure they are in fully functional condition.
Important questions to ask if you have an AED program in place:
- Are your units up-to-date and fully functional?
AEDs require periodic replacement of their pads and batteries to stay emergency ready. Do you have a program in place to inspect your units on a regular basis?
- Have you received notifications that your AEDs are no longer under warranty or indemnified?
Do you know how long your AED’s warranty and indemnification period are for? Once those expire, the manufacturer will no longer be responsible for any repairs needed on the unit or any liability should the unit malfunction during a rescue. Are you ready to shoulder the responsibility of repairing or replacing your AED unit once the manufacturer support period is over, or to make compensation for incurred hurt, loss, or damage incurred by an old AED?
- Are your AED replacement pads and batteries no longer supported by the manufacturer?
Due to advancements in technology, AED manufacturers may be replacing their old AED offerings with new devices that meet current standards. While they may produce the pads and batteries for these older units for a period of time, eventually they will discontinue manufacturing these crucial AED accessories. Be prepared for this time by budgeting now for replacement AEDs later.
- Do you know when your current equipment was purchased?
Often times people “inherit” AED programs as previous AED Coordinators switch to different buildings or positions. It is important to learn the history of the AEDs under your supervision so you can understand the technology, length of warranty, and maintenance schedule your AEDs are currently on. This way, you can evaluate the policies and procedures of the current program and make any enhancements necessary to ensure your building is prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.
- Are you planning for AED maintenance and replacement costs in your budget?
Whose budget does the AED replacement pads and batteries come from? It may be the health department, safety and security, facilities maintenance, or capital equipment budget. Make sure you decide where the money is going to come from early on, because when you need to replace your AED accessories you won’t have time to decide. Every minute that an AED is out of service is a risk to the population you purchased them for, so order your replacement pads and batteries early and budget for them in advance.
If you need assistance with any of the questions above, School Health can help.
Receive a Free Consultation & Download the 10 Common Mistakes Made By School AED Programs from School Health!
Free Consultation Includes:
- Special trade-in offers for you older equipment
- National and state contract pricing
- Access to our national grant opportunity database
Learn more >>
Listen to the Radio Show Plus Get 9 Tips For Maintaining Your Audiometer!
A School Health sponsored NASN radio show discusses screening children of all ages for hearing loss with experts Jennifer Dakers M.A., CCC-A; Hearing Program Consultant for the Michigan Department of Community Health Division of Family and Community Health, Corinne Nelson, RN; Early Childhood Learning Programs, Early Head Start; and Ysmina Vinci, Executive Director of the National Head Start Association.
The radio show discusses the technology we have available to screen children's hearing at any age - even newborns - due to Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) equipment. OAE's are nearly inaudible sounds given off by the vibration of the outer hair cells of the cochlea when the cochlea is stimulated. OAE equipment measures the sound coming from the cochlea using a small probe inserted into the ear canal (see photo above). If a person has normal hearing, they will produce normal emissions, however, those with hearing loss greater than 25 - 30 decibels do not produce these emissions and the OAE equipment will detect blockage in the outer ear canal as well as presence of middle ear fluid and damage to the outer hair cells in the cochlea. (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).
Jennifer Dakers discusses when, how, and why she incorporates OAE equipment into her screening programs and offers tips for not only using the equipment but also trainig staff to get an effective screening.
Corinne Nelson offers her advice for getting children to participate in the hearing screening. As we know, screening with an audiometer requires quite a bit of participation on the child's behalf and requires some skill to get a valid results.
Listen to the Radio Show and View the
9 Tips For Maintaining Your Audiometer
Why Biphasic Waveforms, Joules, and Escalating Energy Matter When Selecting an AED
When selecting an AED for your business, school, or public building, you are making a potentially life-saving decision. Among the typical criteria used to evaluate AEDs (cost, maintenance, reliability), one of the least understood features about them is their shock delivery – the exact feature of the AED that saves a person’s life should they go into sudden cardiac arrest.
4 Steps to Evaluating an AED’s Shock Delivery
Understand the Terminology.
Biphasic Waveforms – “Over the last decade biphasic waveforms have been shown to be more effective than monophasic waveforms in cardioversion and defibrillation.”
- 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC.
Make sure any old AEDs you have in service are biphasic. The most trusted brands of AEDs on the market today are biphasic.
Joule (J) – Unit of energy in the International System of Units (SI); how AED manufacturers measure the therapeutic dose of electricity their device delivers to a patient.
Escalating Energy – When an initial AED shock to a patient is unsuccessful in terminating the arrhythmia and the next shock delivers a higher energy dose (or more Joules).
- Understand what the experts have to say.
The American Heart Association periodically publishes CPR and ECC (Emergency Cardiovascular Care) guidelines that discuss the safety and effectiveness of old and new treatments. These guidelines are based on intensive evidence evaluation and consensus of experts. Under their “Electrical Therapies” section, they discuss the operation of a defibrillator.
Some points of interest might be:
There are no clinical data comparing one specific biphasic waveform with another.
Whether escalating or fixed subsequent doses of energy are superior has not been tested with different waveforms. However, if higher energy levels are available in the device at hand, they may be considered if initial shocks are unsuccessful in terminating the arrhythmia.
Evidence has accumulated that even short interruptions in CPR are harmful.Thus, rescuers should minimize the interval between stopping compressions and delivering shocks and should resume CPR immediately after shock delivery.
Understand which AEDs escalate energy.
There are times when the first shock to a patient fails to revive them. Unfortunately, we cannot identify ahead of time who will be difficult to defibrillate and who will not. According to the American Heart Association’s 2010 Guidelines for CPR and ECC (the most current guidelines available at the time this blog was written), “if higher energy levels are available in the device at hand, they may be considered if initial shocks are unsuccessful in terminating the arrhythmia.” Does the AED you are considering purchasing escalate energy on the 2nd shock? Is this a feature you would like your AED to have? If you have questions about a particular AED, you can read the specification sheet or contact School Health for more information about a particular AED.
Use Your Findings To Make a Decision
Now that you are knowledgeable about this critical component of an AED, include your findings in your AED decision-making matrix. You may choose to weight certain criteria more heavily than others. For example, you may find that while price differs widely from manufacturer to manufacturer, so do some of the features of the device that you consider to be important too.
School Health can help you make this important life-saving decision. Request a free consultation and download the 10 Common Mistakes Made By School AED Programs. Learn more >>
Does Your School's Student Health Records Management Software Measure Up?
Because of the increase in children attending school with complex medical conditions like food allergies, diabetes and asthma, maintaining student health records is becoming more and more complicated. Maintaining accurate health records, creating IHPs, administering medication, tracking immunizations and reporting on health conditions are components of every school nurse's role and 59% of school nurses are using electronic medical records to efficiently track all of this data.
Current student administration programs may have some features that allow schools to store and share student health information, but many of these programs are designed for school administration procedures and do not meet current privacy standards.
A quality electronic student medical record software should have the below elements to ensure your students' medical records are protected:
Unique username and password required for individual access.
- Password protected screensaver that hides data when away from the computer.
- Multiple levels of user security to restrict access to designated areas (so the health secretary can view some information, but the school nurse can view more).
- Protection from data tampering with medication or visit logs.
- Intrusion alarms that protect your data against attempts to access/change data by any unauthorized user or from any unauthorized source.
- Meets FERPA requirements by leaving a data trail each time a user accesses a student health record or visit history.
- Meets HIPPA requirements by automatically keeping a copy of the original data in a student health record, who made the changes and when.
A specialized student health records management software program like SNAP Health Center has all of the above protection features and is designed especially for schools.
Learn more about SNAP Health Center >>
The majority of school health records fall under FERPA as part of a child’s education or treatment record. To learn more about the how HIPAA does or does not apply to your school, click on the links below.
Information on the HIPAA Privacy Rule >>
Information on the other HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules >>
A Guide to FERPA/HIPAA for Schools >>
Understanding the Term “Whole School Preparedness”
According to LifeSecure, a national provider of premier emergency kits and supplies, there are three areas of a school that should be taken into consideration when allotting for emergency supplies:
- Classrooms & Common Areas
- Medical Offices
- Administrative Offices
This idea of "Whole School Preparedness" is also supported by the American Red Cross:
“Every classroom should have some supplies.”
– American Red Cross
“There should be a cache of supplies for the whole school. If your plan includes Search & Rescue teams for light search and rescue following an earthquake, tornado or other damaging event, stock supplies for the number of teams assigned.”
– American Red Cross
This principle will help when deciding on go bags and other emergency kits for your school building.
Depending on your geographical location, there are some specific disasters or emergencies you may want to individually plan for.
Recommended Emergency Supplies for Whole School Preparedness
Examples of Classroom & Common Area Emergency Kits:
Very Good - 25 Student Emergency Response Kit >>
Better - SecurEvac Classroom Evacuation & Lockdown Kit >>
Best - SecurEvac Easy Roll Classroom Evacuation & Lockdown Kit >>
View all classroom emergency kits >>
Examples of Go Bags for the School Medical Office:
Very Good - MobileAid Trauma First Aid Station >>
Better - MobileAid Trauma First Aid Station & AED Backpack (rides on Trauma First Aid Station)
Best - 2 Trauma First Aid Stations, 1 AED Backpack and 1 Quick-Response Trauma First Aid Kit make two complete rolling units
View all emergency kits & supplies >>
Examples of Emergency Supplies for Administrative Offices:
Very Good - Quick-Response Incident Command Kit >>
Better - Incident Command & Trauma First Aid Combination Kit >>
Best - Incident Command/Trauma + Search and Rescue Team Kit
Follow the Principles of Emergency Preparedness with All-Hazard Preparedness Supplies
Even though the point of disaster preparedness is that you “prepare”, you won’t ever be able to predict what type of disaster you are preparing for. According to FEMA, “The all-hazard preparedness concept is simple in that how you prepare for one disaster or emergency situation is the same for any other disaster.”
That is why LifeSecure, a national provider of premier emergency kits and supplies, recommends carrying these 10 All-Hazard Essentials to help prepare for any disaster or emergency situation.
10 All-Hazard Essentials:
- Breathing protection
- First Aid
Making sure you have these basic supplies on-hand will help you prepare for disasters, either natural or man-made, and provide you self-reliance in the event of an emergency.
In what quantity should you store these supplies? FEMA suggests preparing for survival on your own for 3 days without outside assistance. “This means having your own water, food, and emergency supplies.” Below is a chart to provide some ideas for 72-hour preparedness:
72 Hour Survival Kit >>
Food Bars >>
Emergency Radios & Weather Monitors >>
Emergency Drinking Water >>
First Aid >>
Light Sticks >>
Thermal Blankets >>
Go Bags >>
Avoid the Most Common Blood Pressure Measurement Errors
Blood pressure measurement is one of the most common and basic elements of a medical assessment, yet is one of the most inaccurately performed according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
The AHA states that “there is increasing evidence that this procedure may lead to the misclassification of large numbers of individuals as hypertensive and also to a failure to diagnose blood pressure that may be normal in the clinic setting but elevated at other times in some individuals. There are 3 main reasons for this: (1) inaccuracies in the methods, some of which are avoidable; (2) the inherent variability of blood pressure; and (3) the tendency for blood pressure to increase in the presence of a physician (the so-called white coat effect). “
Follow these tips from Welch Allyn, a manufacturer of high-end medical supplies for nearly 100 years, to help avoid inaccuracies in your blood pressure readings.
9 Tips for Taking Accurate Blood Pressure Readings
- Use the proper size cuff
- Place the cuff on a bare arm
- Place the artery marker over the brachial artery
- Allow just two fingers to fit underneath the cuff for a snug fit
- Have the patient sit quietly for a few minutes
- Do not talk to the patient while taking the blood pressure
- Keep the patient’s back supported and make sure the legs are uncrossed
- Keep the upper arm at heart level and support the lower arm
- Keep the arm still
Essential Information for Evaluating Thermometry Products
Whether you are looking to purchase a new electronic thermometer or inherited a thermometer for your health office, it is imperative you understand how the “ABC’s of Thermometry” apply to your thermometer. Following the ABC’s of Thermometry will provide you with the most accurate reading possible, a critical element when assessing the health of your patient.
The ABC’s of Thermometry
A is for Age Ranges – does your thermometer have a recommended age minimum it supports? If so, make sure you are following the manufacturer’s suggestions; otherwise be prepared for inaccurate readings.
B is for Battery Info – What batteries does your unit use? How long can you expect them to last? Do you have replacement batteries readily available?
C is for Cleaning – Any thermometer that comes in contact with a patient will typically have probe covers for hygienic purposes. However, other parts of the thermometer can still become dusty or soiled over time, which can affect performance. Do you know how to clean your thermometer according to the manufacturer’s instructions? Some thermometers will be completely ruined if you use any chemical other than alcohol. Read carefully.
D is for Defaults – What are the default settings on your thermometer, and will you need to change them? Do you know how to change them? Understand your thermometer’s settings to make your life that much easier when putting the thermometer in action.
E is for Evaluate Technique – Correct use of thermometers is essential for accurate readings. There are a variety of thermometry products on the market today that utilize different techniques to get a body temperature reading. Oral, temporal, tympanic, and axillary are a few of the ways you can measure body temperature. Consider the instructions carefully when deciding on a thermometry product.
View the ABC's of the Braun ThermoScan PRO 4000 or find out more product information >>
View the ABC's of the SureTemp Plus 690 & 692 or find out more product information >>
How Much is at Stake when Screening Preschoolers’ Vision?
During a School Health sponsored NASN and NHSA Radio Show, Dr. Susan Proctor, DNS, RN, FNASN, stated "The most important age group to really be looking at are the very young children. The earlier we can pick up problems...the better we are going to be able to help them, not only their learning but their quality of life."
If certain vision disorders are not detected early and treated early, they can even lead to permanent visual loss says Dr. Jean Ramsey, Pediatric Ophthalmology Service Director at Boston Medical Center.
But as important as it is to catch vision problems early, it can be equally as difficult to get an accurate screening on the very young. Young children might not feel like cooperating or may have trouble understanding the directions. Additionally, according to Dr. Proctor, “Many of the [wall charts] that are regrettably currently in use…are outdated, are not the best, and really should not be used.”
It is important to use evidence-based vision screening products when screening young children. You want to make sure the products you are using to screen preschoolers have been proven successful for that age group so you can get the most accurate screening possible for this important age group.
Find 10 more resources specifically for preschool vision screening here >>