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How to Provide the Best ECMO Care with the Staff You Have

By Kiele Hayes Rigaud31 May 2023

Hospitals and healthcare centers across the globe continue to face staffing shortages, with little end to the dearth of healthcare professionals in sight.

Patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) have particularly high care needs, due to the severe nature of their respiratory or cardiac failure, which can further stretch medical teams.

While there’s no quick fix to boost the number of healthcare providers practicing in hospitals, there are strategies to ensure the best ECMO care with the amazing staff you already have.

Provide Ongoing Education and Training

Effective training programs support staff, and can help with recruitment and retention. It suggests personal investment in current and future staff. Additionally, it ensures that available staff have the backing they need to most effectively care for ECMO patients.

Use Technology to Support ECMO Management

One of the biggest support you can offer your staff is the right tools for the job. Technology helps them provide the highest level of care and improve outcomes without needing more people-power.

The Transonic ELSA (Extracorporeal Life Support Assurance) Monitor gives critical care intensivists a trio of critical quantitative data, in real-time and at the patient’s bedside. This saves them time and provides added assurance.

ELSA measurements include:

  1. Delivered blood flow
  2. Recirculation
  3. Oxygenator blood volume

Each of the measurements are part of a larger picture, giving critical care teams the necessary information to optimize treatment without adding to their workload.

For example, quickly and accurately verifying blood flow, with transit-time ultrasound technology, and recirculation, with dilution technology, allows the provider to identify cannulation malplacement and correct it. Additionally, measuring oxygenator blood allows for the early detection and trending of oxygenator insufficiency potentially indicative of clot formation in ECMO circuits.

Technology like the ELSA monitor helps ECMO staff work more efficiently, with added peace of mind, and leads to a better environment for staff and patients alike.

Learn Why Every Pediatrics Unit Needs ELSA for ECMO Support