Q: How are we supposed to deal with patient owned equipment that is brought into the hospital, such as laptop computers, hairdryers, and electric razors? Are we required to maintain a record of electrical checks?
A: CMS and the accreditation organizations do not specify what your process should be on how to inspect patient owned equipment. As previously mentioned, NFPA (1999) section 7-126.96.36.199 does provide guidance on initial electrical inspections. But first, conducting a risk assessment is a proper course of action to determine whether patients should be allowed to bring in their own equipment. The accreditation organizations expect healthcare facilities to develop a process to address patients’ personal equipment that would be included in the medical equipment management plan. This process should use risk criteria based on equipment function, physical risks associated with the use, and incident history. Documentation of some sort would be expected to prove to a surveyor that the initial inspection and subsequent risk assessments were conducted.