Would someone give me a solid rationale for why one would not empty an NG suction container for an immunocompromised patient? I was told that emptying the container every 4 hours poses a risk of infection to the patient and never to unhook the canister from the tubing until it's full. When it's full, it gets removed from the room and placed in the dirty utility until waste control picks it up. This patient is periodically flushed with 30 mls tap water and when suction is not in use, the canister tubing is left hanging at the bedside and the patient's NG is clamped. Why is tap water and a dangling suction tube ok, and periodic emptying of the container not? I'm inclined to believe that this is just the way it's done on this particular unit with no real understanding of why. In this case, I think it's just preference rather than evidence based practice, but if I'm wrong, please correct me.
Nov 20, '12
Suction canisters are never emptied at my hospital either. Once installed, they're only replaced when full or when needed. Nothing in the canister will backflow, especially as long as the filter is left in place (I've worked with nurses that remove the filter...that bothers me). The vacuum is a one way flow, so when turned on and hooked up you aren't introducing bacteria back into the patient. Having said that, if a vacuum tube is to be left unattached, I do cap it to keep it closed.
Nov 22, '12
I don't see the big deal either way since the GI tract really isn't a sterile environment anyway.