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Environment of Care


What are the appropriate temperature settings for blanket warming cabinets?

Answer:

The temperature range of blanket or linen warming cabinets should not exceed 130°F (54.4°C). Post the temperature parameters on the cabinet for ready reference. The temperature of the warming cabinet should be checked on regular intervals and documented on a log or electronically.

Resources

  • Recommended practices for a safe environment of care. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc;2013;217-242.
  • Hazard report: ECRI Institute revises its recommendation for temperature limits on blanket warmers. Health devices. 2009;38(7):230-231.

Updated January 28, 2013 

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What are the recommended temperature ranges for an operating room?

Answer:

The recommended temperature range in an operating room is between 68°F and 73°F (20°C to 23°C). Collaborate with infection prevention, and facility engineers when determining temperature ranges. Each facility should determine acceptable ranges for temperature in accordance with regulatory and accrediting agencies. The temperature should be monitored and recorded daily using a log or electronic documentation of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Resources

  • Recommended practices for sterilization. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:513-540.

Updated January 28, 2013 

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What are the recommended humidity ranges for an operating room?

Answer:

The recommended humidity range in an operating room is 20% to 60% based upon addendum d to ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2008. Each facility should determine acceptable ranges for humidity in accordance with regulatory and accrediting agencies and local regulations. The center for Medicaid and Medicare systems has modified their requirements to allow for the 20% lower limit effective June 2013. Temperature and humidity should be monitored and recorded daily using a log or electronic documentation of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Resources

  • Recommended practices for sterilization. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:513-540.
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Addendum d to Standard 170-2008: Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. 2010. www.ashrae.org/File%20Library/docLib/Public/20100714_ad170_2008_d.pdf. Accessed November 30, 2012.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. State Operations Manual Appendix A: Survey Protocol, Regulations and Interpretive Guidelines for Hospitals. Rev;84.2013;. http://cms.hhs.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/downloads/som107ap_a_hospitals.pd. Accessed July 15, 2013.

Updated July 18, 2013 

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What is the temperature range for solution warming cabinets?

Answer:

The temperature range of solution warming cabinets should be in accordance with the solution manufacturer's specifications. Post the temperature parameters on the cabinet for ready reference. Be consistent within your facility. The temperature of the warming cabinet should be checked on regular intervals and documented on a log or electronically.

Resources

  • Recommended practices for a safe environment of care. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013;217-242.

Updated January 28, 2013

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How long can fluids remain in the warmer?

Answer:

Contact the solution manufacturer for maximum temperature and length of time that the fluids may remain in the warming cabinet. The stability of the fluids will vary by the type of solution and the storage container. Post the temperature and length parameters on the cabinet for ready reference. Label and date the fluids with either the date into the warmer or the date the fluids should be removed, according to your institution policy.

Resources

  • Recommended practices for a safe environment of care. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013;217-242.

Updated January 28, 2013 

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Should the OR windows be covered when using a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser?

Answer:

The OR windows do not need to be covered when using the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser because the CO2 laser is the only laser that does not pass through windows. Doors should remain closed when the laser is in use, including the CO2 laser, to stop the transmission of the laser beam.

Resources

  • Ogg, MJ. Safe use of carbon dioxide lasers. [Clinical Issues]. AORN Journal. 2011;94(4):411-412.

Updated November 30, 2012 

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What type of a fire extinguisher should be used in an operating room?

Answer:

In the AORN Recommended Practices for a Safe Environment of Care, the recommendation is made that “Fire extinguishers should be selected according to standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the local authority with jurisdiction.” The local authority with jurisdiction is frequently the local fire marshall or may be a representative from the state government.

According to the recommendations from the NFPA a water mist or carbon dioxide extinguisher may be used in the OR. This recommendation is based upon the rating of the extinguishers. Water mist extinguishers are rated Class 2A:C and carbon dioxide extinguishers are rated Class B and Class C, but also may be used for Class A fires. The rating is determined by the types of fuel that is being burned. The operating room frequently has Class A fuels which would be drapes, paper, and human tissue. There can also be Class B fuels present such as the flammable skin prep products. Class C fires involve electrical equipment which has electrical current flowing to it. When the equipment is unplugged the electrical current is removed and the fuel is then considered to be either a class A or B.

Resources

  • Recommended practices for a safe environment of care. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013;217-242.
  • National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Portable Fire Extinguishers. NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association; 2010.

Updated July 18, 2013 

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