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Selected Category: Injection Safety

Safe Diabetes Care: Insulin Pens are ONE Person ONLY

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Injection Safety

Ann L. Albright, PhD, RD

Ann L. Albright, PhD, RD

Guest Author: Ann L. Albright, PhD, RD
Director, Division of Diabetes Translation,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is a 24/7 responsibility for everyone who has it. Diligence is necessary to manage diabetes, since its highs and lows can strike while we are otherwise busy with life. It is exciting that there are advances and tools such as the insulin pen to make it easier for people to administer insulin. This is particularly helpful for children, who often must take insulin during the school day, or for those who need to administer insulin while on the go. Diabetes isn’t a convenient disease to live with, no matter what your age.

Along with these tools come great responsibilities, of course, and as health professionals, we can help keep our patients safe. It’s always important to think about how someone uses an insulin pen. The pen can make it easier for people to administer the correct dosage in a timely way, as well as to keep track of only one item, rather than the insulin vial and syringes. But it can also make it easier to share with another individual, without considering the consequences. Teaching people with diabetes to take care of their insulin pen, to use it only for themselves, is essential.

Moving the Needle to Safe Dentistry

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Injection Safety

John O’Keefe, BDentSc, MDentSc, MBA

John O’Keefe, BDentSc, MDentSc, MBA

Guest Author – John O’Keefe, BDentSc, MDentSc, MBA
Board Chairman,
Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP)

Because safe injection and sharps management practices are central to dentistry, the One & Only Campaign resonates strongly in the dental care sector. That is why the Organization for Safety Asepsis & Prevention (OSAP), the dental sector’s premier organization dedicated to infection prevention and control, is joining the Campaign as a Member. We whole-heartedly support the Campaign and pledge to spread its messages to our members. We are also eager to share information on how we in the dental care sector promote safe injection practices with the healthcare community at large.

It was through my own personal experience in 1984 that I really learned about the importance of safe injection practices and how they relate to creating the safest dental visit possible. I had joined a practice where I was replacing another dentist who had left to set up his own practice elsewhere. I quickly learned that for months this dentist had been taking partially-used local anesthetic carpules from the old practice and re-using them in his new office. I was shocked by this behavior, especially when “one needle, only one time” thinking was already so ingrained in dentistry with regard to local anesthetic practices.

Mind the “Learning Gap!”

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Injection Safety

Kim James, MS/FNP-BC RN, Nurse Practitioner, Director of Occupational Health Services, Brookdale University Hospital & Medical Center

Kim James, MS/FNP-BC RN

Guest Author: Kim James, MS, FNP-BC
Director, Occupational Health,
Brookdale University Medical Center

When teaching about Safe Injection/Safe Needle Practices, I always like to determine the students’ knowledge base regarding these principles. I’m often surprised to find that what I take for granted as a “given” is anything but!

This is one reason why, at my “In-Services”, I always ask for a show of hands and ask: “True or False? Changing the needle (between patients) makes a syringe safe to reuse?”  (If you’re familiar with the One & Only Campaign’s “Dangerous Misperceptions” flyer, the answer is “false”.)

I posed this question at in-services recently conducted at my hospital for Resident Physicians.  I hoped all residents would shout “That’s wrong!!!”  Very few responded that this statement was False.  Imagine my surprise when, at another in-service attended by 23 Dental Residents, only one hand shot up with the comment, “That is FALSE!”

Upon asking the Resident why this was a false statement, he said he was not sure.  This triggered a spirited discussion about the importance of changing both the needle as well as the syringe. I suspect some of those Residents questioned it and didn’t speak up, but this is just too important to leave to chance.

Drug Diversion Defined: Steps to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Drug Diversion in Facilities

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Injection Safety

Injection Safety

Injection Safety

Guest Author: Kimberly New, JD BSN RN,
President, Tennessee Chapter of the National
Association of Drug Diversion Investigators

In my last blog, I talked about the impact of drug diversion on hospitals and healthcare facilities. Today, I will be discussing the frequency of diversion within healthcare facilities and what facilities can do to prevent, detect, and appropriately respond to diversion.

There are no reliable statistics about diversion by healthcare providers. This is because diversion is done covertly, and methods in place in many institutions leave cases undetected or unreported. At a facility with a strong diversion program and a nursing staff of about 1,000, I identified 1-2 new cases of staff members diverting each month. Well over 50% of those caught were diverting and using injectable opioids.

Diversion of controlled substances happens at all institutions. Because diversion can’t be stopped entirely, facilities must prevent it to the extent they can, identify cases quickly, and respond appropriately.

The essential elements of a healthcare facility diversion program include

  • Policies to prevent, detect, and properly report diversion,
  • A method of observing processes and auditing drug transaction data for diversion,
  • Prompt attention to suspicious audit results,
  • A collaborative relationship with public health and regulatory officials, and
  • Diversion education for all staff. 

In conjunction with its investigation of a diversion incident, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services observed, “Highly educated and well-trained staff failed to recognize or overlooked behaviors indicative of addiction…or failed to follow established policies to address staff with substance abuse problems.” Ensuring that all staff are aware of the signs of diversion and impairment, and that they know reporting avenues, can facilitate quick recognition and response.

Whenever diversion is identified, healthcare facilities should promptly report to appropriate enforcement agencies and, ideally, obtain complete details from anyone caught diverting.  If injectable medications were diverted and tampering is suspected, facilities should also engage public health officials to assess the need for patient notification.

Drug Diversion Defined: Consequences for Hospitals and Other Healthcare Facilities

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Injection Safety

Kimberly New, JD BSN RN

Kimberly New, JD BSN RN

Guest Author: Kimberly New, JD BSN RN
President, Tennessee Chapter of the
National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators

In my last blog, I talked about how drug diversion, or theft of medication, poses a continuous threat to patient safety. In today’s blog, I’ll be discussing the many ways in which drug diversion negatively affects hospitals. It’s hard to believe, but drug diversion occurs in facilities every day.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are required to provide care in a safe setting and protect patients from harm. Diversion by personnel in healthcare facilities not only threatens patients, but also places the facility at risk. As a result of a diversion event, the facility can incur civil and regulatory liability, become the subject of negative publicity, and even be placed in “immediate jeopardy” of being shut down.

All healthcare facilities intend to provide good care, but many do not appreciate the frequency with which diversion occurs. They trust their employees to do the right thing. It is unimaginable that an employee’s addiction would go undetected or that a diverter would harm a patient. Facilities may view events as isolated occurrences, and be unsure of what to do once diversion is discovered.

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