What is a Blanket Warmer?
A blanket warmer, also known as a warming cabinet, stores and warms linens and blankets in a medical environment. Blanket warmers often come in various sizes, and may have one, two or three compartments. Other environments like spas, dentist offices, and veterinary offices may also utilize blanket warmers.
The importance of medical Blanket Warmers.
Low temperatures of medical procedure rooms and surgical suites as well as factors like anxiety or long wait periods in the preoperative areas can have adverse effects on the patient. This requires a method for maintaining a patient's normal body temperature. Blankets that have been warmed in a blanket warmer can be the first method for keeping the patient's body at a normal temperature.
The risk of hypothermia during and after a procedure is a primary factor for using a hospital blanket warmer. Hypothermia increases the risk of surgical site infection (SSI), which often increases the patient's hospital stay and costs to the facility. Other consequences of hypothermia may include cardiac events and coagulation difficulties. By providing the patient with linens warmed in a medical blanket warmer throughout all phases of the procedure, the healthcare facility is taking proactive steps to prevent a hypothermic event.
Blanket Warmer safety.
Following the recommended guidelines and procedures when using a blanket warmer for hospitals is important to patient safety and compliance. Recommendations may include temperature ranges, warming time, and storage practices. Depending on the blanket warmer manufacturer, recommendations for use may vary. The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA ) also provides recommended practices for blanket warmer use, including:
- Blankets should be rotated on a first in-first out basis
- Warming cabinet temperatures should be checked at regular intervals per the organization's policy and documented on a temperature log or record, or documented on a record provided by an electronic recording system
While there are no national blanket warmer temperature guidelines, the ECRI Institute issued a hazard report update in 2009 that the blanket warming temperature should be no higher than 60° C to decrease the risk of patient injury. The report also noted that IV fluids should not be warmed in the same cabinet as used for blankets.
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