Infection Control Today

NOV 2018

ICT delivers to infection preventionists & their colleagues in the operating room, sterile processing/central sterile, environmental services & materials management, timely & relevant news, trends & information impacting the profession & the industry

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Page 22 of 36

22 ICT November 2018 feature feature feature By Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Amber H. Mitchell, DrPH, MPH, CPH C urrent efforts to reduce sharps injuries (SIs) are most typically associated with those occurring to direct care staff. Less apparent are risks to those working behind the scenes. Ongoing efforts to enhance sharps safety include research, advancement s in medical science and s afet y technology, policy engagement, injury surveillance, regulator y enforcement and public awareness initiatives surrounding injuries and their impact. In November 2017, Infection Control Today published y a report summarizing the ongoing work of the ANA SI Prevention Stakeholder Group – a group of sharps safety experts and advocates who have been participating in quarterly conference calls for the past three years to network and discuss ongoing issues, activities and strategies related to SI prevention across the US. In July 2017, the group held a sentinel meeting at ANA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., during which workgroups were formed to focus on actionable strategies with the potential to advance SI prevention in the U.S. What follows is an update of that ongoing work as well as a discussion of SI risks and considerations for healthcare workers who function in a critical, but often underappreciated role – device and instrument reprocessing. ANA SI Prevention Stakeholder Workgroup Updates The ANA SI Prevention Stakeholder workgroups have been targeting four important areas: termi- nology; media; policy; and safer operating rooms. The Terminology Workgroup was formed to address continuing language and acronym inconsistencies used by researchers, policy experts and industry leaders that contribute to widespread confusion around the meaning of terminology. The workgroup has been engaged in ongoing efforts to simplify language that can be more Behind the Curtain of Sharps Injury Prevention and Device Reprocessing clearly understood and universally applicable with simple acronyms, particularly as they relate to sharps devices with SI prevention features. The primary defi nition and acronym currently proposed by the Terminology Workgroup are: sharps with injury protections (SIPs). SIPs are defi ned as: devices with integral features to prevent percutaneous injuries that may cause exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Efforts are underway to fi nd opportunities to publish letters or commentary to generate further discussion and feedback. The Media Workgroup will function ad hoc as the need arises to initiate communications and craft infor- mational notices. They will disseminate communications whenever there is a topic, product or project that warrants media or public attention. The Policy Workgroup has been identifying SI prevention standards and engaging with accrediting and licensing agencies to encourage their adoption and incorporation as part of site surveys and/or inspection processes. In the early 2000s, shortly after the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was incorporated into the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, accrediting bodies like the Joint Commission were quite active incorporating elements of sharps safety into their surveys. This focus has diminished in recent years and as such, the Joint Commission will be the fi rst organization we hope to work with. The Policy Workgroup has concluded that state-level advocacy and engagement may provide the best opportunity for greater enforcement of existing policies and enhancement of safer practices. Focusing on local efforts allows for more targeted discussions about gaps in SI prevention policies and practices, and access to appropriate technologies. A groundswell of state-based education and awareness initiatives that motivate federal lawmakers could lead to expanded national policy to promote safer working environments for the delivery of healthcare. Stay tuned for future activities regarding to state and local policy including the development of guidance for healthcare institutions. Ò SIPs are def ned as: devices with integral features to prevent percutaneous injuries that may cause exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

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