PA Patient Safety Authority Examines Unsafe Injection Practices

The June issue of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Advisory includes a look at the occurrence of bloodborne disease transmission related to unsafe injection practices.

Lapses in basic safe injection practices and infection control expose patients to needless risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. public health officials identified 51 reports of outbreaks of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection primarily associated with unsafe injection practices in patients in the United States from 1998 through 2009. Of the 75,000 patients who were placed at risk, 620 became infected or died as a result of exposure. Events of unsafe syringe reuse reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority from 2004 through 2010 were associated with delivery of injectable medications during surgery, vaccinations, and bedside care.

This article describes approaches to integrate safe injection strategies into clinical practice and explains the key components of an infection prevention program, including dispelling the misperceptions associated with unsafe injection practices, increasing the awareness of safe injection practices, and oversight of compliance with safe injection practices.

Reference: Prevent the Occurrence of Bloodborne Disease Transmission Associated with Unsafe Injection Practices. Pa Patient Saf Advis 2011 Jun;8[2]:70-6.

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