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By Michael Garvin, MHA
In the last decade, the healthcare industry has made remarkable progress in reducing sharps injuries. Ten years ago, sharps injuries were considered an occupational hazard of providing healthcare. At that time, there were no regulations that mandated the use of safety devices; thousands of clinicians would have suffered sharps injuries except for the vision of a few healthcare leaders and manufacturing companies. Yet the quest for reducing sharps injuries continues, and some of the best advances in technology are being made right now.
One of the most frequent types of sharps injury can occur even with safety devices. This is the sharps inbound injury. When the clinician is taking the medical device out of the injection site, a rebound injury can occur when the device recoils and injures the hand stabilizing the injection site. Most safety devices are not designed to eliminate this rebound injury. Most devices require that the procedure be completely finished for the clinician to activate the safety feature. In many cases, the short time it takes to bring the sharp device out of the injection site and the point when the safety feature is activated can produce a sharps injury.
A number of safety device manufacturing companies have designed devices that eliminate that short but dangerous time when rebound injuries occur. This represents a new generation of safety point of injection protection (PIP) products.
Safer Huber Needle
One of the best examples of a PIP medical device is the Huber Plus. Huber needles are used to access chemotherapy medication delivery ports. The Huber needle was notorious for rebound injuries simply because the clinician would often stabilize the implanted port with one hand and extract the needle with the other. Since the port provided a considerable amount of resistance to extracting the needle, the clinician needed to use a good amount of pressure to release the needle. This could result in an injury.
Now Technologies eliminated the potential for rebound injuries by designing a winged system that covered the needles tip as soon as the needle was extracted from the port. In fact, as the clinician applies pressure to the sides of the wings, the cover actually assists in extracting the needle.
BD Push Button Winged Set
Another breakthrough in safety technology was introduced at the APIC meeting. BD Medical introduced the push-button winged blood collection set. The technology is very similar to BDs vascular access safety device, the Onsite Autoguard. While the clinician finishes the procedure, they simply press a small button on the top of the device and the needle is extracted from the injection site right into the body of the device. There is no chance for a sharps injury to occur.
Winged blood collection devices have always been a major concern for health and safety professionals since the devices have historically produced a significant number of injuries. The injuries usually occurred just after the needle was taken out of the injection site or when the clinician was placing the winged set into the sharps disposal container. The push-button winged safety set is likely to dramatically reduce associated sharps injuries simply because the needle tip is withdrawn directly form the injection site.
Terumo Medicals Safety Winged Set
Another winged safety set that qualifies as a PIP device is the Terumo Medical Surshield. The device is designed with a hinged cover that snaps into place over the needle tip as soon as the needle is withdrawn form the injection site. Using a simple technique, there is little chance for an injury to occur as the cover is advanced when the tip is withdrawn from the injection site.
Medex Medicals Acutance Vascular Access System
Medex Medical has now purchased Johnson & Johnson Medicals Vascular Access division, and is now marketing the Acuvance Vascular Access Device. Like the other PIP safety products, the Acuvance device is designed so there is little chance for a rebound injury to occur. The needle tip is covered or blunted when the tip is withdrawn from the injection site. A unique characteristic is that the safety feature is activated automatically. The clinician does not have to push a button or perform an activation step. The positive strides made by the healthcare industry in reducing sharps injuries have been a result of a unique collaboration between safety-minded healthcare leaders and innovative medical supply companies. Safety and health professionals have dedicated themselves to the multitude of tasks necessary to convert a facility to safety products. Innovative manufacturing companies have continued to design products that are easy to use and increase the overall level of safety. The PIP products are an important step forward in the quest to eliminate sharps injuries.
The new Dawnmist Redi+Wash is an all-inone bathing system specially formulated to cleanse and moisturize the body in healthcare settings when patients are not mobile. The eight-cloth Z-fold system is designed to reduce cross contamination and reduce the potential of infection that can occur when basins or towels are reused. Donovan Industries says facilities can see up to 70 percent total cost savings vs. conventional baths in addition to lower infection rates. (800) 334- 4404
Colby Manufacturing Corporation introduces a new absorbent pad in the SurgiSafe family of floor pads for the control of fluid waste in the OR. The new True Blue SurgiSafe pad is extra absorbent to soak up larger amounts of fluids during very wet procedures, and its fluid-barrier backing traps fluid within the absorbent material. Complete fluid containment means that the floor remains dry underneath the pad, protecting healthcare workers and decreasing OR turnover time. The backing is designed to be skid-resistant, thus reducing slip hazards. (800) 969-3718
The WetTask Disinfecting and Sanitizing Refillable Wiping System is designed to meet increased demand for surface sanitation in light of SARS and Norwalk-like virus outbreaks. The WetTask system consists of a high density polyethylene bucket with a patented dispensing spout for one-at-a-time dispensing. The system is designed to help eliminate the contamination that can occur when soiled cloth rags are reused to wipe surfaces. It also eliminates opportunities for compromising the efficacy of the sanitizer or disinfectant that occurs when a soiled rag is placed in a bucket containing a cleaning solution. (888) 346- GOKC or www.kcprofessional.com
Getinge USA Inc.
The new Getinge 800 Series Floor Loading Steam Sterilizers feature 26-inch wide chambers designed to provide increased loading capacity when processing 24-inch wide containers or loads. The sterilizers can be installed in the same wall opening and footprint of existing floor-loading sterilizers. Power-operated doors facilitate loading and unloading, while stainless steel construction delivers corrosion resistance and structural integrity. Fourteen selectable cycles include six gravity cycles for wrapped goods, six vacuum cycles for wrapped goods, one Bowie-Dick test cycle and a vacuum leak test. All cycles are sequenced and monitored by the control system. (800) 475-9040 or www.getingeusa.com