Q: We are having a debate about insulin pens and oxygen tubing and how to store them. Can you assist?

A: For the insulin pens commonly needed by diabetic patients, remember they are to be used on an individual resident, one pen per resident, and only under a physician’s orders, of course.

Those pens should be stored in separate bins in the med cart. 

If they can’t be stored in a separate plastic bin, you must store them in individual plastic bags (usually provided and labeled by your pharmacy). The resident’s name must be on the bag and some states are requiring a label on the pen/syringe too. Check your state’s regulations and make sure your facility policy aligns.

Some may still have questions, such as if we change the needle and wipe off the syringe with an antimicrobial wipe, can the one syringe be used on more than one resident? 

The answer is a hard and firm NO! Under no circumstance can a syringe be used on more than one resident.

When it comes to storing your oxygen tubing, remember that plastic bags breed bacteria.

Try using a WikiPouch (to be clear, I do not work for them). The WikiPouch is composed of a breathable material with a place on the bag for the resident’s name and a drawstring to hang the contents.

You know plastic bags need to be taped onto something to keep them from landing on the floor. As an alternative, nurses can place tubing in the resident’s bedside cabinet drawer, a solution we also have seen work well. 

You can request a WikiPouch sample from the company’s website, which is also a good resource. The company can provide research showing its storage product reduces healthcare-associated infections, which is the dream of every infection preventionist!

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at [email protected].