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Medical Oxygen Related Home Fire Safety

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Medical Oxygen Related Home Fire Safety and its Risks
Lee Ann Long
University of North Carolina at Charlotte NURS 6303 - 780
June 19, 2015

Introduction Oxygen can be a comforting, life sustaining treatment and a potent killer. As one of three components of the fire triangle (heat, fuel, and oxygen), it has the potential to cause great injury and even death in those who ignore the risks and fail to follow safety guidelines. The Joint Commission has identified the risk of medical oxygen home fires as serious enough to include it as the 2015 National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 15.02.01. It states a home care organization must “Identify patient safety areas: Find out if there are any risks for patients who are getting oxygen. For example, fires in the patient’s home.” (The Joint Commission, 2015). This work is a review of available literature on the issue, its link to nursing administration, the significance to quality and safe nursing practice, as well as potential opportunities for improvement and recommendations for strategies to improve the safety of patients, families, and nursing staff. According to 2003 – 2006 data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Injury Surveillance System, medical oxygen in the home was a factor in and average of 1,190 thermal burns seen annually in U.S. emergency rooms (Galligan, et al., 2015). Smoking is the leading cause in these incidents and several studies suggest that the incidence of burn
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