RECOMMENDED APPROACH TO CARE OF HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS
WITH MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES (MCS)
Ann McCampbell, MD
Erica Elliott, MD
1) LISTEN TO THE PATIENT
Reassure patient you understand he or she is chemically sensitive and will work with him or her in providing care.
Communicate on an ongoing basis about the patient’s environment, evaluation, and treatment; be willing to answer detailed questions.
Respect patient’s concerns and limits.
Remember that patient sensitivities vary in kind and severity from person to person.
2) CLEARLY FLAG CHART THAT PATIENT IS CHEMICALLY SENSITIVE
3) CONSULT WITH PATIENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL PHYSICIAN (when possible)
4) PROTECT THE PATIENT FROM AIR POLLUTION
Assign to private room with:
No pesticides, new paint or carpet, or other recent remodeling
No perfume on care-givers or fabric softener on their clothes (put sign on door)
Non-smoking care-givers (put sign on door)
No strong cleaners, fragranced products, including hand sanitizers (put sign on door)
Use least toxic disinfectants, such as hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach or phenol-based products, whenever possible
Allow patient to wear mask/respirator, use air filter, and open window as needed
Keep door to patient’s room closed
Reduce time patient must spend in other parts of the hospital by performing as many
procedures and evaluations as possible in patient’s room
5) USE PATIENT’S MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT (whenever possible)
Oxygen mask and tubing
Medications, food, and water
Bedding, clothing, and soap
6) KEEP DRUG USE TO A MINIMUM
Listen to patient’s concerns about drug use and history of reactions
Avoid drug use if possible, otherwise administer low doses with caution
Use IV fluid without dextrose (many react to corn-based dextrose)
Glass IV bottles are preferred, but if unavailable, use DEHP-free plastic bags
Preservative-free drug formulations are best
Capsules are generally better than tablets (less binders, fillers, and dyes)
Use short-acting regional rather than general anesthesia whenever possible
Try to avoid the use of halogenated gas anesthetics
For sources of IV fluid, preservative-free medications, and other products suitable for chemically sensitive patients, call Ann McCampbell, MD at (505) 466-3622.
1/27/99, amended 12/1/02, 8/26/12