Infant Radiant Warmer Considerations: What to Know Before Buying

By: Bana Jobe

The material presented in this blog represents the opinion of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Synova Associates. Synova Associates does not endorse any specific products or organizations but strives to connect its industry partners with leaders interested in product/educational innovation.

After years of making an older radiant warmer fleet work, your L&D department has finally gotten the green light for funding new equipment. Purchasing high-quality equipment will help the aesthetic of your unit and make life easier on the staff—but most importantly, it can have a tremendous impact on critically ill babies.

Now that you get to bring in the latest technology, you want to ensure you make the right purchasing decision. There is a lot to consider, such as built-in monitoring, lighting, scales, and more. So, here is what you should keep in mind as you approach this important decision.

Helpful Integrations

Comprehensive integrations built into radiant warmer beds—such as various vitals’ data, for instance—put the necessary resources right at your staff’s fingertips, eliminating the need to chase after disconnected tools. This saves time when every second matters. Consider the potential time saved in not having to manage additional equipment.

So, look for “all-in-one” warmers with adjustable procedure lighting, scales, electrocardiogram, X-ray trays, and oxygen blenders. With these integrated features, staff can seamlessly move through workflows without having to move infants across surfaces, manually take vitals with stethoscopes, or worry about not having a needed device available during a critical moment.

Keep future integrations in mind, too. With systems that offer seamless and safe mounting options, team members can easily add on accessories to make equipment management less cumbersome.

Safety Measures

Ensuring patient safety is of utmost importance when using any hospital equipment, which makes a high-acuity workflow critical. In particular, providers should consider systems that support that workflow from end-to-end, with a special focus on features and components that create more efficiencies during the golden hour and beyond.

Factors to explore include a single-view dashboard for the care team, as well as attachable configurations that minimize the risk of having missing or incompatible equipment during critical interventions. Additionally, integrated vitals and data including SPO2, heart rate, time, and temperature can ensure the NICU team readily has access to a single source of data to drive care decisions.

Additionally, look for integrated resuscitation equipment that helps create a complete stabilization toolkit within arm’s reach. Equipment like:

  • Flowmeters
  • Air/O2 blenders
  • Manometers
  • Secondary outlets
  • PIP safety values (to prevent accidental pressure increase)
  • Cylinder holders (for critical transport)

Ergonomics and Flexibility

Clinician ergonomics and ease of use are paramount for radiant warmers, as struggles with back pain, overheating, and more are common among L&D and NICU teams. Consider these features for your team’s comfort and convenience:

  • Heat direction: Beds that allow providers to work without having to duck under a heat source can help clinicians keep cool while maintaining thermal support for infants.
  • Accessory availability: Integrated solutions that offer everything within reach, including pulse oximeters, flow meters, manometers, PIP control, lighting, T-pieces, ECG, and other monitors, can help providers focus their attention where it matters.
  • Adjustable height: Look for warmers with electronically controlled height to prevent the back strain that can come when taller nurses need to hunch over beds.
  • Durability and useful life: Consider whether the equipment will hold up to the demands of everyday use, cleaning, and transport. Also, look for systems that offer service availability to ensure that if the equipment is down, reliable and local support will be there to help.

These features have the potential to improve access to critical values during a resuscitation and increase efficiency around the bed. Physically customizable warmers that also pack in current technology offer an all-in-one solution that can support varying workflows.

Making the Right Investment

The warmer you choose depends on the unique needs of your unit. Start by assessing the strengths of your workflows, as well as barriers to care. How can a new warmer bridge those gaps for patients and providers? Consider integrations, safety measures, and ergonomics—but other considerations may also be important based on the specific needs of your facility and patient population.

By assessing the right factors, you can ensure that your investment meets the biggest expectations for your hospital’s tiniest patients.

References and Disclaimers:

  1. Croop SEW, Thoyre SM, Aliaga S, et al. The Golden Hour: a quality improvement initiative for extremely premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Journal of Perinatology. 2019;40(3):530-539. doi:10.1038/s41372-019-0545-0 

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