Pill Cutters and Crushers: Joint Commission Surveyors Take Notice

Our health system partners tell us that Joint Commission surveyors are looking for proper medication management techniques when nurses or pharmacists crush or split pills, prompting many organizations to direct-source single-patient-use pill cutters and crushers through us.

We peeked into a popular online nurses’ chat board to find out more about current practice for crushing and cutting pills.

Read the nurses’ comments below for yourself to find out what might be going on in your facility:

We have one pill splitter for the unit and I’ve never seen anyone clean it.”

“For crushed pills, we have one crusher but we sandwich the pill between to paper med cups.”

“In the ER, our pill splitter consists of a plastic knife.”

One of the med-surg floors I did a rotation on had one splitter, and it had a tendency to disappear….so they taught me to use an 18 gauge to split pills. Pretty sure JCAHO would have a field day with that.”

 

I’ve done that myself a few times, as well as using my fingernail if it is already scored.”

These aren’t bad nurses; these are nurses who don’t have easy access to the proper supplies.

JCAHO standards for medication/IV management and infection control apply to shared, unit crushers and cutters, to ensure that medications are not cross-contaminated with residual pill powder or, ahem, fingernails. If your hospital provides shared unit equipment, like a table-top crusher or a mortar and pestle (still in use in many facilities), we’ve heard that surveyors are looking for documented cleaning procedures between every use (yes, even with the plastic powder bags).

The easiest path back to compliance is to provide single-patient-use pill crushers and/or cutters. These products can be stocked on the unit for easy access, and then once opened for a patient, they can stay in that patient’s medication bin or drawer.  Patients can take them at discharge, for home use.

Direct sourcing pill cutters and crushers lets your clinicians specify their requirements and save 30%+ over the price of typical branded products. ASP Global offers a full range of pill cutter, crusher, and combo products via direct sourcing.

We offer both bulk packing and individually-wrapped products, so you can stock these products at the pharmacy or on the unit.  We can produce these items in your brand colors, with your logo applied, to strengthen your connection to patients at home. Most importantly, we help your clinical staff to adhere to best practice for safety and clinical quality in medication management and infection control.

To learn more about ASP Global medication management tools, please contact William Fallon, William.fallon@aspglobal.com.