Best Practices for Use of Fingerstick Devices

PUBLISHED: Apr 28, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Clinical Lab, Home Health, Hospice, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office/Clinic

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) using the same lancing/fingerstick device for more than one individual, even if the lancet is changed, is an infection control breach that could potentially expose patients to the blood or bodily fluids of another. If this practice is identified during any survey of a Medicare or Medicaid-certified provider/supplier, the CMS surveyor and/or accreditation organization must make the appropriate State public health authority aware of the deficient practice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also underscores that fingerstick devices should never be used for more than one person.

According to the CDC, there are two primary types of fingerstick devices, those that are designed for reuse on a single person and those that are disposable and for single-use.

  • Reusable Devices: These devices often resemble a pen and have the means to remove and replace the lancet after each use, allowing the device to be used more than once. Due to difficulties with cleaning and disinfection after use and their link to numerous outbreaks, CDC recommends that these devices never be used for more than one person. If these devices are used, it should only be by individual persons using these devices for self-monitoring of blood glucose.
  • Single-use, auto-disabling fingerstick devices: These are devices that are disposable and prevent reuse through an auto-disabling feature.. In settings where assisted monitoring of blood glucose is performed, single-use, auto-disabling fingerstick devices should be used.

Best Practice Recommendations:

  • Fingerstick devices should never be used for more than one person.
  • Auto-disabling single-use fingerstick devices should be used for assisted monitoring of blood glucose.

These recommendations apply not only to licensed healthcare facilities but also to any setting where fingerstick procedures are performed, including assisted living or residential care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, health fairs, shelters, detention facilities, senior centers, schools, and camps. Protection from infections, including bloodborne pathogens, is a basic requirement and expectation anywhere healthcare is provided.

Included with today’s notice is an example policy for the use of fingerstick devices.

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