Oxygen is indicated in many critical conditions and can save lives by preventing severe hypoxaemia. However, there is a potential for serious harm and even death if it is not administered and managed appropriately.
Common issues include:
- Failure to or wrongly prescribed oxygen
- Patients not monitored properly
- Problems with administration
- Faulty and/or missing equipment
Following a patient safety incident, reported to the Reporting and Learning System (RLS), where a patient was inadvertently connected to air instead of oxygen, the National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) has issued the Rapid Response Report (RRR) ‘Oxygen safety in hospitals’ to minimise the risks of oxygen therapy.
‘Oxygen safety in hospitals’ includes:
- Immediate action points for all hospitals
- Supporting information, including a review of evidence of harm
- Briefing for doctors
- Briefing for nurses, midwives and AHPs