Basic safe injection practices still important

December 29, 2014

For healthcare professionals, needlestick injuries are one of the most dangerous and common hazards. These incidents can be costly for organisations and trusts, as well as having an emotional and physical impact on the health of the person involved. 

Suffering a needlestick injury can mean that staff have to take time of work to undergo various tests to ensure they do have not been exposed to any bloodborne pathogens, which could result in them being diagnosed with a life-changing condition like HIV.

However, preventing such injuries from medical sharps like needles is possible if a number of measures are undertaken, such as introducing safety devices where deemed appropriate. As well as implementing improved instruments, which help protect healthcare workers by reducing the risk of them suffering an injury, hospitals should also focus on training.

Dr Andrew Engel, from the International Spine Intervention Society, has highlighted the importance of basic injection practices for staff working in hospitals and other medical centres.

Writing for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog, he said that there are still infections caused by improper injection techniques, which could also put people at risk of suffering an injury.

By ensuring all members of staff are fully trained in safe injection practices, hospitals can reduce the risk of workers, patients, relatives and innocent bystanders suffering a needlestick injury, as well as limiting the danger of patients contracting an infection.

Dr Engel promoted the use of the "One and Only" practice, which aims to discourage healthcare workers from using instruments like needles and syringes multiple times as this can increase the danger of contracting infections.

He said: "Breaches in sterile technique, including the reuse of single dose vials, can facilitate a single infection turning into an outbreak."

"Some will reflect on their years in practice, saying that they have not adhered to one or more of the standards of care and have never seen an infection as a result. While these physicians should consider themselves lucky, sporadic transmission of blood borne pathogens may not be recognised as having resulted from unsafe injections. Given the severity of the potential complications, a single preventable infection, let alone an outbreak, is one too many. It’s not worth the risk."

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