New and revised FAQ’s on the Joint Commission website reflect important changes that need your attention.
First, a new FAQ in the EC chapter covers oxygen cylinder storage. Without a doubt, this FAQ is surprising because it changes several years of consistent direction from TJC on oxygen cylinder storage.
In the past, TJC directed hospitals to store full oxygen cylinders separate from those that were less than full. In this case, less than full included both partial and empty cylinders. See EC News December 2012 and EC News February 2014.
Past Oxygen Cylinder Storage Guidelines
Hospitals had a choice to use two or three racks. For example, the two rack option included one with full cylinders and the second with both partial and empty combined. The three rack system included one rack for full, one for partial, and a third for empty. Most organizations chose the 2-rack route. And, for several years storage of full cylinders were separate from the partial and empty cylinders.
New Oxygen Cylinder Guidelines
But, this FAQ reverses that orthodoxy. The guidance now states, “Those cylinders defined as empty by the organization shall be segregated from all other cylinders that are intended for patient use. Full and partially full cylinders are permitted to be stored together.”
Accordingly, take steps to update signage and past compliance training covering the previous cylinder sorting process.
Note: A 3-rack process remains permitted under this new FAQ.