Ergonomic Device Helps Nurses Safely Remove IV Connectors, Break Glass Ampules

MedeGrip, a new gripping and safety device that protects nurses' fingers and hands, will be displayed next week at the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) annual meeting. The device makes it easier and safer for nurses to perform various essential duties.

Invented by nurse Matthew Ostroff, RN, VA-BC, CEN, a PICC line specialist, MedeGrip recently received FDA clearance as a Class 1 device. Class 1 covers low-risk devices such as elastic bandages, examination gloves, and hand-held surgical instruments. The device is an H-shaped gripping aid made of flexible foam. The two opposing surfaces of the device help nurses grip objects more effectively and safely.

MedeGrip can also protect nurses from sharps injuries when breaking glass ampules, which cause roughly one-quarter of sharps injuries in hospitals. Designed to be an improvement over gauze and the new standard of care and personal protection whenever glass ampules are used, it is the only device that completely protects nurses' hands from touching the ampule.

A May survey taken at the annual meeting of the Association for Critical Care Nurses (565 respondents) showed:

- 97.9 percent said they have had difficulty removing end caps from central lines

- 97.9 percent said they have had difficulty removing IV tubing from a catheter

- 96.1 percent said they feel that MedeGrip provides a safer alternative to gauze when breaking glass ampules

- 94 percent said that MedeGrip was a tool they would like to see in their hospital.

Access Scientific, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), makers of advanced catheter insertion products, has agreed to include MedeGrip in its POWERWAND Maximum Barrier Kit.

"MedeGrip is a nurse-invented product that solves an everyday problem for nurses," says Steve Bierman, MD, Access Scientific's CEO. "We are pleased to have exclusive rights to MedeGrip for midline catheters, and we expect nurses to be very pleased with this new device."

The tool also helps with the following tasks: removing Luer Lok devices from central lines; removing pin knots from peripheral IV lines; and removing and tightening tubing from IV lines. It replaces the risky technique of using a hemostat to grab the wings of needleless IV connectors (also called "end caps") and other small plastic devices.

Before becoming a registered nurse, Ostroff spent six years as NYC paramedic and received the Regional EMS Council of NYCs paramedic of the year award for 2006. He is board-certified in vascular access and is also a certified emergency room nurse.

The INS meeting will be held May 21-26 at the Kentucky International Convention Center, in Louisville, Ky. MedeGrip will be displayed at Booth 341 during the Industrial Exhibition. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mon., May 23 to Wednesday, May 25.