Hyperbaric Oxygen Safety Considerations: Disinfection of Hyperbaric Facilities and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Strategies


Program Directors: 
Andrew R. Melnyczenko, CHT, BHCA; Jolene E. Cormier, RN, BSN, CHRN, CHT, EMT-P; Marc Pullis, EMT, CHT

Hear from the foremost Medical and Technical leaders in Hyperbaric Safety as we discuss past and present safety considerations. This event is suitable for all disciplines, as we blend the experience of Physicians, Nurses, and technical staff to formulate a unique safety course to suit your needs.

The purpose of this course is to provide current information related to the clinical and technical safety of clinical hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This course is organized by both regular and associate members. The sessions will be of special interest to clinicians and technical staff and is provided in response to requests from the membership for a pre-course related to safety aspects of clinical hyperbaric oxygen therapy. MOC/CME and CEU will be available for this course.


Posted: 4/2/21 *subject to change*

0800-0815 Introductions: / Welcome Andrew Melnyczenko, CHT
0815-0915 COVID hypoxemic respiratory failure:  From 2Lnc to HBO2T and everything in between.

Description: Dr. Wainwright shares her unique experience of how COVID-19 patients were selected and transported to the hyperbaric chamber for treatment. Hear the patient experience and bedside observations, lessons learned and preliminary findings - from the perspective of an Intensivist who has treated COVID patients since March 2020.

Sandra Wainwright, MD
0915-1015 A survey of hyperbaric chamber cleaning practices

Lin Weaver, MD
1015-1030 Break  
1030-1050 Case Studies of normal items that you wouldn’t think are dangerous in a Hyperbaric Chamber but are. 

The talk will be about four normal items that a patient might use or bring with them to their hyperbaric treatments that are far more dangerous than expected
  • Synthetic/artificial hair that looks and feels like normal hair
  • Pens that have a lighter on them
  • Canes that have a Taser on the end
  • Leave in shampoos and conditioners
Kevin Kraft, RN, BSN, ACHRN, CNML
1050-1110 Distractions and complacency and their impact on safety.

Description: Human factors and their impact on safety.

Richard “Gus” Gustavson, MPH, RN, CHRNC-A, CWCN, CHT-A, CRT
1110-1130 Urgent and emergent HBO2T: Operational readiness assessment and plan of care communication

There is a deficiency of clinical hyperbaric facilities in the United States capable of responding to the urgent and emergent conditions for which scientific and clinical evidence supports the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. As the hyperbaric medicine community endeavors to originate solutions to the complex problems that have contributed to this deficiency, individual facilities and the professionals that staff them can answer questions fundamental to safe and proper administration of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to acute and critically ill patients. What level of medical urgency is your facility capable of responding to? What staff and equipment resources are available to you? What is best practice for communicating a plan of care to medical or surgical services in your community that have little knowledge of your facility or the treatment you offer?

Nick Marosek, BSN, RN, ACHRN
1130-1200 Panel Q&A from the morning session MODERATOR: Andrew Melnyczenko, CHT
1200-1300 Lunch  
1300-1345 Hyperbaric chamber disinfection: Determining effective suitable products and methods for COVID infection control.

Description: Determining a suitable and effective disinfectant is more than just conferring with the EPA List N or reviewing the product SDS. Suitability with hyperbaric chamber material - including acrylic windows, human safety in confined environments, application requirements and regional availability are some of the other equally important decision-making criteria.

Francois Burman, Pr Eng, BSc (Eng), MSc
1345-1415 Disinfection of medical hyperbaric chambers - review of standards and options

Description: The general aspects of disinfection of the hyperbaric chamber with the special attention for cleaning the chamber after the COVID patient will be presented. Different approaches will be compared with each other concerning both mono- and multiplace chambers. Standards from different countries and organizations will be presented and discussed.

Jacek Kot, MD, PhD
1415-1445 Maintaining accreditation and safety through 2020 challenges

Description:  Experiences of the UHMS Facility Accreditation Surveyors who continued the Accreditation Program in the face of an unprecedented pandemic.

Derall Garrett, CHT
Monica Skarban, RN
1445-1505 Acrylic shell viewport rupture - A review of the accident in Bogotá

A review of the information released to date on the incident occurring on February 4th, 2021 where an acrylic shell viewport ruptured at the Soring Clinic in Bogotá, Colombia.

Andrew Melnyczenko, CHT
1505-1520 Break  
1520-1550 Risk mitigation of COVID transmission for hyperbaric work in support of diving and tunneling operations.

Description: A look at some of the operational considerations and policy amendments imposed by COVID safe work plans. We will take a look from a company perspective in both meeting the clients needs while balancing worker safety with examples of some SOP's developed by international tunneling and diving companies. We will also learn about the impact to the divers and compressed air workers themselves and the sacrifices made in order to perform their work in a confined space where standard measures to avoid the spread of infection can not take place.

Sherri Ferguson, MSc.
1550-1630 Adapt and overcome: Building your team's approach to handling the unusual and unexpected. 

Description:  At some time in your career something unusual and unexpected will come through the doors of your hyperbaric medicine unit that is beyond your personal scope of experience. 
Examples are:
  • Mass casualties, 
  • New or unusual patient medical devices
  • Dealing with equipment approaching obsolescence
  • Onboarding new devices and determining suitability in the hyperbaric environmentStaffing challenges
  • COVID-19 considerations for your unit, and how to keep staff and patients safe while continuing to operate
  • Dealing with patient transport, admission to appropriate level of care and other logistical considerations

This talk will hopefully help you get beyond the "deer in the headlights" phase and give examples of how our unit has approached some of these issues using teamwork and a systematic method.  There is not always a pathway to "yes, I can treat this patient in my chamber" and there does not have to be.   Not all hyperbaric units are able to even consider some of these challenges.  By objectively assessing resources, training, and risk/benefit, though, the answer does not always have to be "no."

Gary Toups, MD
1630-1715 Panel Q & A from the afternoon session MODERATOR: Andrew Melnyczenko, CHT
1715-1730 Questions/ Course Evaluation / Closing Andrew Melnyczenko, CHT