OxySafe Safety Update
As a reminder, in March 2018, the Veterans Health Administration issued a Patient Safety Alert mandating the use of thermal shut-off devices (also known as firebreaks, fire stop valves or fire safety valves) in all of its home oxygen patients’ installations. The VHA will be incorporating new requirements into all DME contracts for home oxygen.
- The VA’s Patient Safety Alert requires that thermal fuses (firebreaks) are fitted to all home oxygen patients’ installations—unless there is a clinical reason for not doing so.
- The Patient Safety Alert applies to all patients, not just those deemed to be at ‘high risk’.
- Two thermal shut-off devices must be fitted on each patient installation. In other words, where a patient uses both stationary and portable oxygen, two thermal fuses must be fitted on the stationary oxygen source and two on the portable source.
- In the case of portable devices, the requirement only applies to those with a continuous flow.
- Following the Patient Safety Alert, all DME providers will be responsible to report home oxygen fires to the local VA medical center and must provide specific information about the fire.
- Any unidirectional thermal fuses must be replaced with bidirectional versions at the next scheduled visit or sooner (unless the unidirectional is designed so it cannot be fitted in the wrong orientation, if it has a thread or bayonet for example).
- DMEs’ contracts must be amended within six months of the Patient Safety Alert to reflect this change.
ADVICE TO DMEs
- Contact your local VA medical center or VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Network) for details of contract changes.
- Visit www.applied-inc.com/oxysafe for more information about thermal shut-off devices and installation.
- Contact Applied Home Healthcare Equipment for information about OxySafe thermal shut-off installation kits.
- Users should read the detailed instructions before installing a thermal shut-off device. As with all medical equipment, attempting to use or install the device without a thorough understanding of its operation and limitations may result in patient or user injury.
For more detailed information from the Veterans Health Administration, please click here.