Enteral Connectors

What You Need to Know About the Industry-Wide Change to Enteral Connectors

By Lisa Logan, R.D., CNSC, McKesson Medical-Surgical Clinical Resource Team
There is an ongoing effort by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to improve small-bore connectors used for healthcare applications. This global patient safety initiative starts in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico with the goal of completion in these markets by 2016. Beginning January 2015, the implementation of new standards for safer enteral tube feeding connectors will occur. As a charter member of the Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA), the group formed to help develop and implement the new standards, McKesson Medical-Surgical has influenced key decisions to help make the change as efficient and easy as possible for customers.

Why is the change happening?

The overall objective is to help reduce the potential for human error resulting in enteral device tubing misconnections; GEDSA developed an initiative that requires the use of safer connectors.

How does this impact health care providers?

To help with the transition to an entirely new connector and enteral feeding tube, called ENFit, GEDSA has deployed a phased approach:

  • Q1 2015 (as early as January 2015): Administration sets with new ENFit female connector and ENFit Transition Connector (to allow fitment into current feeding tubes).
  • Q2 2015 (as early as April 2015): New enteral-specific syringes will be introduced with the new ENFit female connectors.
  • Q3 2015 (as early as July 2015): Enteral feeding tubes with ENFit connector.

*Timing is subject to change pending each manufacturer's FDA 510(k) clearance. It is important to check with your supplier representative on timing and product availability.

Key steps that organizations can do to prepare for ENFit:

  1. Confirm with each manufacturer/supplier of administration sets, syringes and feeding tubes on their anticipated timing for introduction and shipping.
  2. Immediately start communicating this upcoming change to all key personnel and health-care providers.     
    • Be sure to communicate the projected timeline of the changes occurring.     
    • Make them aware of the available resources detailing the transition to the new enteral feeding connectors.
  3. Update all enteral nutrition protocols to incorporate the new connector guidelines.
  4. Make sure the pharmacy staff modifies their medication delivery protocols as needed.
  5. Identify a care team that can train staff and patient/caregivers on the changes resulting from the discontinuation of luer connectors once ENFit connectors are in place.
  6. Encourage your organization to not delay what will be an inevitable change by preparing to purchase the step connectors, and eventually the new products as they enter the market.
  7. Utilize the available tools on the GEDSA website and demonstrate how ENFit connectors will work and reinforce compliance with this Global Initiative.  

Contact GEDSA for any questions or visit www.stayconnected2015.org for more information.

Learn More

About the Author

Lisa Logan, R.D., CNSC Nutritional Support, Training, Education & Reimbursement

Lisa Logan is a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician and member of the ADA (American Dietetic Association) and ASPEN (American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition). Lisa has worked in the field of Nutrition Support over 25 years. Lisa is the author of numerous published articles on Enteral and Parenteral therapy. Her other accomplishments include speaking for The World Health Organization discussing "Nutritional Support in the AIDS Patient," and developing an intra-dialytic therapy program for dialysis units through National Medical Care. When not looking after the nutritional support needs of McKesson's customers, Lisa enjoys life in Colorado taking advantage of both snow and water skiing. Lisa is also an animal lover and is known to collect and care for stray cats. She is a triplet and has two daughters aged 15 and 18.         

References:

Bankhead RR, et al Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations. JPEN Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2009; 33:122-167.

Boullata J, Carney LN, Guenter P. A.S.P.E.N. Enteral Nutrition Handbook. Silver Spring, MD: A.S.P.E.N. 2010

GEDSA- The Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA) is a nonprofit trade association formed to help introduce international standards for healthcare tubing connectors. Comprised of manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of enteral nutrition devices worldwide, GEDSA facilitates information flow about the three-phase initiative, which is designed to increase patient safety and optimal delivery of enteral feeding by reducing the risk of tubing misconnections.

Guenter P. New Enteral Connectors: Raising Awareness Nutr Clin Pract. 2014 online DOI: 10.1177/0884533614543330 http://ncp.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/08/02/0884533614543330.full.pdf+html

Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations in this document were obtained from the sources listed above. Be advised that information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only and is not complete clinical information. This information is intended for use only by competent healthcare professionals exercising judgment in providing care. McKesson cannot be held responsible for the continued currency of or for any errors or omissions in the information.

2015 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.         

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