VA adding opioid antidote to defibrillator cabinets for quicker overdose response

By December 2018, all Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals across the United States will include naloxone in their automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets. The cabinets were originally installed on the walls of VA cafeterias, gyms, waiting rooms, and other places to hold equipment to respond quickly to heart attacks.

By December 2018, all Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals across the United States will include naloxone in their automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets. The cabinets were originally installed on the walls of VA cafeterias, gyms, waiting rooms, and other places to hold equipment to respond quickly to heart attacks. Pam Bellino, patient safety manager for the Boston VA, where the initiative was started, said the VA had to persuade The Joint Commission to approve guidelines for the AED naloxone project. The commission ruled that the cabinets must be sealed and alarmed, checked daily, and refilled when the naloxone kits expire. Additionally, the commission said the letter "N" may be affixed to the cabinet, but not the words "naloxone" or "Narcan" because it would alert the public that the drug is inside. Some schools, airports, churches, and employers have already added naloxone to their AED cabinets, and Ryan Vega, MD, with the VA's Center for Innovations, said the organization is hopeful that even more health systems will add the opioid antidote to their cabinets.