Over the past few months Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on this country and the world at large. Here at Love Medical we have been watching the disruption it has caused for our clients and the limitations it has placed on their ability to provide an effective diagnostic respiratory service, this in turn obviously has a huge impact on patient care.
During this time we have been in close communication with suppliers and manufacturers from around the world, some of whom are slightly ahead of us in the recovery process, to find out what they have learnt and what they are doing to help their customers. Our aim is to have as much information as possible so that when the time is right we can help get services up and running as efficiently and safely as possible.
How is Lung Function Testing going to be affected Post Covid-19?
Post Covid-19 it looks likely there will be a number of changes to Lung Function testing which will no doubt evolve as more research is carried out. We are trying to keep up to date with these changes and provide our customers with the best guidance to keep both themselves and their patients safe. Although it is beyond us to give specific guidance on testing procedures we can advise the best ways to use our systems and devices to maintain a safe and efficient service, so that our clients can best help patients recover.
Moving forward the necessity to ensure a clean environment for staff will be essential, although we follow guidelines on the cleaning of equipment it hasn’t always been practical to wipe everything down between patients in a busy respiratory lab, this will now become a requirement for safe respiratory testing.
Increased monitoring of post covid patients is likely to place an increased burden on existing services, it seems likely that patients recovering from COVID 19 will need long term monitoring of their respiratory condition. This situation will mean that the industry as a whole will need to become more flexible and creative in its approach to diagnostics and this could see a push to more community based diagnostics programs freeing up time in hospitals for more acute patients and lowering disease transmission risks.
PPE, the big question is will it be required as a standard for respiratory testing, some instances such as CPET testing would not allow the use of a viral / bacterial filter to be used for the test so there is a risk of exposure without PPE for staff. Many of the standard Respiratory tests utilise a Viral Bacterial filter and as such offer some protection to both the device and the staff but this on its own will not protect surfaces that may come into contact with a patient.
Which products can help you adapt your service?
During this period of change we have liaised closely with our partners and industry experts to make sure we can offer the best products, to allow our customers to get back to working efficiently and safely.
There is now an increased need for systems which are:
Easy to clean- With increased cleaning procedures in place, systems need to be able to be cleaned as quickly as possible between patients.
Portable- A device that can be moved between testing rooms can allow its use to be continued whilst one testing room is being cleaned and disinfected. Sat on a cart with a built in tablet the Minibox can easily be moved between rooms, allowing lung volumes to be measured during a testing rooms ventilation period (roughly 60mins depending on air change volume)
Remote- Stopping vulnerable patients having to visit hospital should be a priority where it can be avoided. Remote testing using devices such as the Spirohome can reduce the risk of patients having to come into hospital to perform spirometry.
Safe- All Lung Function systems need to be used in combination with a bacterial viral filter. By using the Spirostik Blue device with it’s disposable mouthpiece and filter you can maintain the safety of both the patient and the staff.
Here are a few of our products which we think can help your service adjust to the changing landscape, allowing for easier cleaning, remote patient testing, and increased infection control.
Here are a few helpful guidelines that may provide some more information on running a Lung Function and CPET service through this COVID 19 pandemic.
ARTP (Association for Respiratory Technology & Physiology)
Lung Function and CPET