Managing medical lines is an essential yet intricate aspect of care for people at any age. The risk of medical line entanglement (MLE) can be a concern, but with the right strategies and tools, you can minimize this risk, ensuring a higher level of safety and comfort for patients.
Whether you are a caregiver or navigating your own medical journey, here are effective ways to reduce the risk of MLE:
1. Use Specialized Products
- Central Line Vest or LOCK 3000: A specially designed vest or feeding tube wrap, like Gus Gear’s, provides a secure and comfortable way to manage central lines or feeding tubes. Our products are tailored to prevent line entanglement while still allowing freedom of movement and play.
- Other securement devices: Other devices (e.g., clips, medical tape and adhesives, or covers) can also help keep lines in place. These accessories work to provide an additional layer of protection and peace of mind against accidental tugging or entanglement.
2. Opt for Practical Clothing Choices
- Adaptive clothing: Look for adaptive clothing options that are designed with strategically placed openings or features to accommodate medical lines. This reduces the risk of lines getting tangled in clothing.
- Consider comfort: Prioritize loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that won’t create unnecessary friction or pressure around the site of the medical line.
3. Maintain Awareness and Education on MLE
- Clinician education: Over 97% of healthcare professionals surveyed recently about their awareness of MLE responded that their hospital did not have a medical line entanglement policy or they were not sure if there was one. 94% indicated that they do not review any specific MLE education with patients or caregivers.1 If you are a clinician, take the time to educate your colleagues about MLE. This includes understanding how to avoid entanglement and the importance of regular checks.
- Caregiver and patient education: It’s important for patients and caregivers to understand the importance of being cautious around their medical lines and how to sleep, move, and play while minimizing entanglement risk.
4. Regular Inspections and Maintenance of Medical Lines
- Check regularly: Perform frequent checks to ensure that lines are properly positioned, free from tangles, and securely attached.
- Scheduled maintenance: Follow the recommended schedule for line maintenance and replacements as advised by healthcare providers.
5. Consider alternative feeding or infusion schedules
- Consider switching to a daytime feeding or infusion schedule: If MLE is observed during sleep, a change in the timing of infusion or feeding could help to decrease risk.
- Consider bolus feedings for patients using enteral nutrition: It’s not feasible for everyone, but switching to a bolus feeding method may be an option to eliminate lines for those using enteral nutrition.
6. Engage in Support Communities
- Seek support: Join local or online communities dedicated to the individuals managing medical lines. These communities offer invaluable support, advice, and shared experiences, providing a sense of camaraderie and understanding.
- Share experiences: Contribute your experiences and learn from others to enhance your strategies for minimizing the risk of MLE.
Managing medical lines is a challenging aspect of daily life for kids and adults; however, putting these strategies into place can significantly reduce the risk of MLE. Remember the goal is to make sure medical lines do not compromise safety, but they shouldn’t stop you from living your life either. With the right approach, which may include Gus Gear, you can minimize your risk and live life to the fullest!
1Larimer C, Sumner V, & Wander D. Medical line entanglement: The unspoken patient safety hazard of medical devices. Nutr Clin Pract. 2023;1-13. DOI: 10.1002/ncp.11000