Website spotlight: Unsafe injection practices remain a concern

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 11, 2011

There's good news when it comes to safe injection practices: The majority of healthcare workers are consistently compliant with current best practices. However, there is still a problem with the small minority of employees that have reused single-dose vials on more than one patient, changed the needle but reused a syringe on multiple patients, or reused a syringe to enter a multi-dose vial and then saved that vial for later use.

A study published in the December 2010 American Journal of Infection Control indicates that only a few healthcare workers participate in these unsafe procedures, but even a few is still too many. The study surveyed 5,546 healthcare workers on current injection practices.

The results of the study broke noncompliance into specific scenarios:

  • 6% sometimes or always use single-dose or single-use vials for more than one patient
  • 0.9% sometimes or always reuse a syringe but change the needle for use on a second patient
  • 15.1% reuse a syringe to enter a multi-dose vial, and 6.5% of those (1.1% overall) save that vial for use on another patient

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