Saline Shortages...What's the Cause?

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Background:

Saline shortages are expected through the end of the year because of:

  • A 20 % rise in demand of saline from January to March 2014.
  • Harsh winter weather delayed saline deliveries to providers.
  • An increased demand with decreased product availability.
  • More stringent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections to ensure product sterility since:
    • Saline has been contaminated with bacteria, mold and glass particles.
    • FDA discovered leaks in saline bags.

Implications:

Those who require hydration may not receive it such as:

  • Individuals undergoing dialysis
  • Patients in an acute care setting

Recommendations:

In response to the saline shortage RNs are encouraged to:

  • Revise policy and protocols to conserve supplies.
  • Use smaller saline bags when possible.
  • Transition patients who are able to tolerate oral hydration to drink water.
  • Consider importing FDA approved saline from Spain and Norway.

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