Opioid Safety, Practices & Tips, Respiratory Compromise

Minnesota RTs Help Implement Continuous Capnography Program

peggy lange

Peggy Lange, BA, RRT (RT Department Director, St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, MN)

A recent article published by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) has highlighted how respiratory therapists (RT) can play an integral role in using capnography to detect the signs of respiratory depression.  The post focuses on the experiences of Peggy Lange, BA, RRT (RT Department Director, St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, MN).

Over a three month period, St. Cloud Hospital ran a pilot program to test the effectiveness of continuous capnography monitoring Center for Surgical Care, PACU, surgical care units, interventional radiology, electrophysiology lab, and emergency trauma center.  The trial was successful, proving the monitors gave an early alert to the signs of respiratory distress, as well as resolving issues caused by nuisance alarms – particularly with patients experiencing sleep apnea or periods of hyperventilation.  As a result, continuous capnography monitoring was implemented hospital-wide. Read More

Must Reads

Patient Safety Weekly Must Reads (November 18, 2016)

This week in #patientsafety, we shared our findings from our survey on responses to the Surgeon General’s letter on the opioid epidemic and put venous thromboembolism in the spotlight with a new partnership with World Thrombosis Day. From around the web, a mother penned an article about the tragic and preventable death of her son, Minnesota respiratory therapists are recognized for implementing a program to detect respiratory depression at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, MN, and the ECRI Institute released its top ten healthcare technology hazards of 2017 (undetected opioid-induced respiratory depression yet again makes the top five).


Physicians on Surgeon General’s Letter on Opioid Epidemic: Survey Results. In August, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic. We conducted a survey to gauge reactions to the Surgeon General’s appeal. Read More

Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Quality Healthcare is a Continuum: PPAHS Interview of Peggy Lange, RT on Intermittent vs. Continuous Monitoring

In a recent interview with Peggy Lange, RT (Director of the Respiratory Care Department, St. Cloud Hospital) conducted by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS), Ms. Lange discussed why intermittent monitoring does not foster quality patient care.

St. Cloud Hospital is a 489-bed hospital serving a 12-county area in Central Minnesota. Said Ms. Lange, “St. Cloud Hospital has a long tradition of caring for patients in Central Minnesota. We were founded by the sisters of the order of St. Benedict in 1886 and have grown to a high quality regional medical center.” Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

5 Key Learnings to Create a Culture of Patient Safety with Capnography: An Interview With Peggy Lange, RT

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety recently interviewed Peggy Lange, RT (Director of the Respiratory Care Department, St. Cloud Hospital) about a project that examined acute response team (ART) calls regarding patients who had received procedural or conscious sedation 24 hours prior to the event.

As Ms. Lange wrote in her article published in ADVANCE for Respiratory Care and Sleep Medicine, “Culture of Safety Includes Capnography”:

“We looked at patient monitoring practices in the outpatient procedural areas and we addressed the very real issue of too many alarms on the hospital patient floor. We also undertook a literature review for the project as we prepared to consider implementing capnography outside the operating room at our institution.

For the project, St. Cloud Hospital brought together a team of clinicians that included physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists who represented different clinical areas like pain, sedation, endoscopy, and surgery.

In this interview, Ms. Lange discussed 5 key learnings from this project: Read More