The Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) recently commissioned a survey among its members to establish the first nationally representative blood exposure database and benchmark resource. The results of AOHP's inaugural 2011 EXPO-S.T.O.P. (EXPOsure Survey of Trends in Occupational Practice), the largest annual survey of its kind conducted in the United States, were released in the fall 2013 edition of the AOHP Journal.
Blood exposure among healthcare workers (HCWs) is a serious occupational risk that healthcare facilities strive to reduce, explains Linda Good, PhD, RN, COHN-S, director of employee occupational services at Scripps Health in San Diego, and EXPO-S.T.O.P. co-author. For the first time, we now have stick and splash exposure benchmark rates that represent the United States nationally.
A nine-item electronic survey was developed and distributed to AOHP members across the nation in 2012 to ascertain blood exposure incidence and denominator data. The survey, which will be conducted annually by AOHP, will provide results to help healthcare facilities enumerate and categorize blood exposures to better understand how they occur, how they can be reduced and what resources are required to achieve their reduction. The survey also identifies best practices in hospitals with low incidence rates of blood exposures.
AOHP members from 125 hospitals in 29 states participated in EXPO-S.T.O.P., says survey co-author Terry Grimmond, FASM, BAgrSc, GrDpAdEd, director at Grimmond and Associates Microbiology Consultants in Hamilton, New Zealand. The survey shows a sharps injury (SI) rate of 24 per 100 occupied beds, or 1.9 per 100 full-time equivalents (FTE.) Extrapolating nationally, we estimate that annually, 320,000 U.S. HCWs sustain SI in hospital and non-hospital settings. This is the first national estimate since the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2001. It indicates the mandated use of safety engineered devices alone is not achieving our reduction goals, and a new vigor must be found to protect our HCWs.
This incidence of SI is significantly higher than in other contemporary surveys and shows that little reduction in SI rates has occurred in the last decade. AOHP is committed to reporting this information to compel healthcare facilities across the nation to identify new methods to protect HCWs from blood exposures and to set the goal for blood exposures at zero.
AOHP is a national association representing thousands of HCW across the nation and beyond. The associations vision is to be the defining resource and leading advocate for occupational health and safety in healthcare.
Source: Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP)