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Nurse’s Idea Helps Protect Patients, Provide Peace of Mind

Union Memorial Hospital RN’s father-in-law sparks No No Sleeve

Monday January 10, 2011
Union Memorial Hospital nurse Jill Drew, RN, left, with her father-in-law, Mike Drew, the inspiration for her No No Sleeve idea.
Union Memorial Hospital nurse Jill Drew, RN, left, with her father-in-law, Mike Drew, the inspiration for her No No Sleeve idea.
(Photo courtesy of Union Memorial Hospital)
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A close call for Jill Drew’s father-in-law when he was in the hospital led her to create a simple accessory that protects patients’ arteriovenous fistulas.

Mike Drew, who has a fistula for dialysis, was in the hospital for an unrelated infection about 14 months ago, and the staff kept trying to use his arm that has a fistula for treatment. At one point, “a nurse yells, ‘No, no, not that arm,’” Jill Drew, RN, said.

That’s when she got the idea for the No No Sleeve, she said.

The red, forearm-length sleeve provides a physical barrier as well as a written reminder of “No BPs, No IVs” to warn healthcare professionals not to use that arm, said Drew, a nurse at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. It makes healthcare professionals “think twice” before removing it to use the patient’s arm, she added.

Drew had noticed flaws in other methods that hospitals had to communicate that the patient has a fistula. Signs above the patient’s bed would be ineffective if the patient was moved to another room, for example.


The bright red No No Sleeve has clear “No BP’s, No IV’s” warnings along with space to denote the patient’s name and also whether the left or right arm cannot be used.
(Photo courtesy of Union Memorial Hospital)
Anesthesia also would render patients unable to warn hospital staff not to use a certain arm, she noted.

The No No Sleeve stays on the patient’s arm and relieves patient anxiety that the fistula could be damaged, which could delay or prevent life-saving dialysis treatments.

“If they are hospitalized, it’s one less thing to worry about,” she said.

Maureen Strausbaugh wished her mother had a No No Sleeve when she went into a hospital for a 30-minute gall bladder procedure and wound up in intensive care for three days.

Strausbaugh said her mother, 78-year-old Joan Hill, was under anesthesia and couldn’t warn the staff not to use her arm where she has a fistula. Strausbaugh said she believes someone put pressure on her mother’s arm, and the fistula became clogged.

“Had she had the sleeve, I don’t think that would have happened,” said Strausbaugh, of Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Strausbaugh saw the No No Sleeve at her mother’s dialysis center and bought one to prevent future damage to her mother’s fistula.

“It’s a wonderful invention and a wonderful idea,” she said.

Drew said she has sold about 200 No No Sleeves, which cost $8.99 for individuals or $6.99 for institutions.

The No No Sleeve also could be used by mastectomy patients who have to protect their arms after they have had lymph nodes removed, Drew said.

For information on the No No Sleeve, visit nonosleeve.com.

Karen Long is a freelance writer.


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