Joint Commission issues safety bulletin on insulin pumps

June 11, 2021

The Joint Commission issued a bulletin about how providers can help patients use insulin pumps safely in the hospital setting.

The “Quick Safety" bulletin addresses numerous issues involved ensuring patients use insulin pumps safely, including how to develop written procedures on the self-administration of insulin, policies to identify which patients qualify for insulin self-administration, education for patients and family, documenting insulin use in the medical record, conducting a risk assessment, and documenting which practitioners can order the insulin.

Specifically, the Joint Commission recommends:

·        When developing policies, procedures, education, and training surrounding the use of a personal device, organizations should involve representation from multiple disciplines including nursing, pharmacy, risk management and physician leadership.

·         Organizations need to define under what circumstances medications brought in by the patient or family may be used and implement a process to identify and visually evaluate the medication’s integrity. The process should be completed by an individual deemed qualified by the organization.

·         When an organization permits a patient to self-manage their insulin administration via a personal infusion device, a written process is needed to guide safe and accurate self-administration of medication. 

·         Policies should address the type of medication orders permitted and the required elements of medication orders should address self-administered medication via an infusion device.

·         Policies about where and how the use of a personal medical device is documented within the patient medical record.

·         Patients and families should receive education on applicable policies and procedures.

·         When developing policies and procedures around self-administration of medications via an infusion device, organizations may find it helpful to conduct a risk assessment to identify risks associated with various options being considered.

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