How Safer Needle Devices Help. With the growing advances in science and medicine the world also experienced an increase in the needles that delivered many of the treatments. This left around 5.6 million healthcare workers at risk for needlestick injuries that could expose them to bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B & C, HIV and others. Data has shown that those involved as nurses have the highest injury rate for needlesticks and that operating rooms and patient rooms were the locations that had the highest volume of needlestick injuries. Research has shown that most needlestick injuries are as a result from unsafe needle devices and not healthcare worker carelessness. Technology advances addressed this problem with the development of safer needle devices. A CDC (Center for Disease Control) report in March 2000 indicated that around 62-88% of sharps injuries within hospital facilities could be prevented through the use of medical devices that were safer.
What Are Safer Needle Devices
There are a few designs for safer needle devices. Each one is a technology that an employer can select for use within their healthcare environment to assist in the reduction of needlestick injuries. These safety devices have some characteristics that are desirable and include:
That they are needleless
Have safety features that are part of the device.
Safety features remains protective throughout disposal.
Safety features cannot be deactivated.
That the device is both practical and easy to use.
The device has reliable performance.
The devices work reliably and effectively while not causing adverse problems for patient care and yet are acceptable for the healthcare worker.
Points of Order for safety needle device technology include:
Passive Safety Features with Integrated Safety Design: Stays in effect pre-use, during, and post-use, with an built-in safety feature that can’t be removed.
Active device with accessory safety device: Safety mechanism must be activated by worker. External safety features must be transported to or permanently fixed to the area of use.
FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
The FDA is the government organization that holds responsibility for reviewing and clearing the use of medical devices for the U.S. market. The FDA recommendations for safer needles include devices that have specific safety features:
Acts to provide a barrier between the needle and hands after use. The feature designed for safety should allow the hands of the worker to always remain behind the needle.
Is an integrated part of the device and is not an attachment or accessory.
Is in effect prior to disassembly and remains in effect after disposal as a protection for users, waste handlers, and for the safety of the environment.
Is a device that is designed as simply as possible, requiring little or no training for effective use.
Types of Safety Needle Devices:
Selection of the specific type of safety needle device is based on the location, facility, budget, and needs of the healthcare environment. A few of the choices of safety needle devices include:
Needless Connector Systems: The needleless connectors used in IV delivery systems.
Self-Sheathing Safety Feature: A slide needle shield attaches to the disposable syringes and vacuum tube holders. There are also sliding blade shields for disposal scalpels.
Retractable Technology: Sharps or needles that have a retracting ability into the device, syringe, or vacuum tube holder as well as syringes that have needles that retract and retractable heel-stick/finger lancets.
Self-Blunting Technology: Self-blunting phlebotomy and “butterfly” winged-steel needles that advance ahead of the tip of the needle before it is removed from the vein.
Hinged Safety Feature: a sliding shield or hinge that attaches to the phlebotomy needle, winged steel needle, or needles for blood gas.
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