According to the U.S. Center Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unsafe injection practices put patients and healthcare providers at risk of infectious and non-infectious adverse events and have been associated with a wide variety of procedures and settings.
This harm is preventable.
Safe injection practices are part of Standard Precautions and are aimed at maintaining basic levels of patient safety and provider protections. The World Health Organization defines a safe injection as one that does not harm the recipient, does not expose the provider to any avoidable risks and does not result in waste that is dangerous for the community. The CDC collaborates with the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC) to develop and implement an educational campaign to promote safe injection practices by raising awareness among patients and healthcare providers about safe injection practices.
According to the CDC and SIPC, safe injection practices for needles, cannulas that replace needles, and, where applicable, intravenous delivery systems include:
- Use aseptic technique to avoid contamination of sterile injection equipment.
- Not administering medications from a syringe to multiple patients, even if the needle or cannula on the syringe is changed. Needles, cannulae, and syringes are sterile, single-use items; they should not be reused for another patient nor to access a medication or solution that might be used for a subsequent patient.
- Using fluid infusion and administration sets (i.e., intravenous bags, tubing, and connectors) for one patient only and dispose appropriately after use. Syringe or needle/cannula should be considered contaminated once it has been used to enter or connect to a patient's intravenous infusion bag or administration set.
- Use single-dose vials for parenteral medications whenever possible.
- Do not administer medications from single-dose vials or ampules to multiple patients or combine leftover contents for later use.
- If multidose vials must be used, both the needle or cannula and syringe used to access the multidose vial must be sterile.
- Do not keep multidose vials in the immediate patient treatment area and store in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations; discard if sterility is compromised or questionable.
- Do not use bags or bottles of intravenous solution as a common source of supply for multiple patients.
The CDC, SIPC One and Only Campaign offers great resources for healthcare organizations and providers working to improve injection safety practices. Included with today’s notice are example polices that support safe injection practices.
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