Provision and Use of Safety-Engineered Medical Devices Among Home Care and Hospice Nurses in North Carolina

Source: Jack K. Leiss, American Journal of Infection Control, published online 26 April 2010
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From the abstract:
Nurses who provide care in the home are at risk of blood exposure from needlesticks. Using safety-engineered medical devices reduces the risk of needlestick. The objectives of this study were to assess provision of safety devices by home care and hospice agencies as well as the use of these devices by home care and hospice nurses in North Carolina, and to examine the association between provision and use.

The percentage of nurses who were always provided with safety devices ranged from 51% (blood tube holders) to 83% (winged steel needles). Ninety-five percent of nurses who were always provided with safety devices, but only 15%-50% of nurses who were not always provided with safety devices, used a safety device the last time they used that general type of device. Among nurses who did not use a safety device on that occasion, 60%-80% did not use it because it was not provided by the agency.

This study suggests that limited access is the primary reason for home care/hospice nurses’ failure to use safety devices. The policy goal of providing safety devices to health care workers in all situations in which such devices could reduce their risk of needlestick is not being achieved for home care nurses in North Carolina.

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