The RCAPP is especially intended to empower both owners and the residing doctor so that they can be confident about the safety of their facility, and consequently more capable of managing these vital service centres according to international principles and standards. The whole process inspires confidence, both on the side of the service centre and on the side of those referring patients to their care.
How does an assessment work?
During an assessment the team takes a look at the chamber’s functionality, safety features, working procedures and the training of the staff.
A first part of the assessment takes place outside the chamber. The team takes a close look at the control panel, air tanks, compressors, oxygen tanks, ID tags, pipes, lines, etc..
A similar assessment happens inside. Is everything in place? Are the correct materials used? What are the safety features? What in case of emergencies? And again pictures are used to have all the chamber details on file. If the team visits the chamber again after 2 years, they would know exactly how it looked during the last assessment.
After the assessment of the chamber itself the focus of attention transfers to paperwork and administration. Has the chamber been serviced periodically? When was the last time the view ports were changed? What is the working and test pressure of the chambers and are the safety valves set correctly? How often is the complete system checked? What kind of treatment tables are used?
But it doesn’t stop there. There is more….
It is also very important to see if the staff has been trained well and regularly. Especially when it comes to emergency procedures.
So more paperwork like Training and Safety manuals… Checking if there are written guidelines about what to do in an emergency, such as in case of a chamber fire or a power failure.
Indeed, not only do we want to make sure the chambers works well and the diver receives good care, but we also want to make sure that when there is an unforeseen problem the diver’s life is not endangered.
Finally the team takes a look at patient records and forms used during treatment to see if everything is well recorded.
Back home it is not over. Now is the time to write the Risk Assessment Guide with recommendations for the chamber. A job which takes a lot of time.
Unlike other divers who are travelling, the assessment team doesn’t return with travel pictures of magnificent underwater life and a log book full of dives, but with pictures of hyperbaric chambers and a book full of technical notes.
A team member take a look at those and compiles the report.
After a final check by another member of the team the report is forwarded to the chamber.
Only now the assessment is done…till the next time the team visits that chamber.
How many chambers are assessed during a trip?
This depends on several factors and is different in every region.
Not only does it depends on how many chambers there are in that country, but also from how far they are away from each other and how to get from the one to the other.
This means advanced planning and preparing a time schedule. Often the team is assisted by the local DAN office in finding means of transportation and setting up appointments with the chambers.
In a country like Cyprus a car is the best solution, but when going to the Maldives, a car will not do you much good. There they have to rely on boats or planes and need to cooperate with the resorts to use the boats they have available and which are used to pick up or bring back tourists.
When possible 2 chambers a day will be assessed (like in Turkey). If not, one chamber a day will be done.
In many occasions the team arrives the evening before or during the morning in the city where the chamber is based and leaves directly after the assessment to the next location.
How is the reaction of the facility management team?
The management teams are very cooperative and happy to see the DAN RCAP team visiting them. During the assessments, it is often discussed how to get the injured diver as soon as possible from a dive site to the chamber and how they can work together with DAN’s International Hotline.
Hyperbaric chambers do not look at DAN simply as an organisation who pays treatment for its members, but as an international Diving Emergency and Safety organisation who cares for the divers.
And that is exactly what DAN is all about.
What else does the DAN Europe RCAP do for the diving community?
The empowerment of the diving communities through training and rendering local participants competent is another part of the program.
Not only does the RCAP team inform the hyperbaric facilities about possible training opportunities, but DAN Europe has also started the RCAP Scholarship Program.
This scholarship makes it possible for one Hyperbaric staff member to follow special training.
Training which will improve safety!