Injection safety key to protecting residents from viral hepatitis
JULY 17, 2019
Viral hepatitis is an infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. There are five different viruses that cause hepatitis, including hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. The hepatitis A and E viruses typically cause only short-term infections that the body is able to fight off. The hepatitis B, C and D viruses can cause long-lasting infections that can lead to chronic liver problems and even death. Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis D spread through contact with an infected person’s blood. Hepatitis B and D may also spread through contact with other body fluids.
Providing healthcare to residents has the potential to transmit Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus to both long-term healthcare workers and their residents. Of the 61 healthcare-associated outbreaks reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2008 to 2016, 18 of them occurred in long-term care settings. Most of these outbreaks were caused by lapses in infection control such as unsafe injection practices or reuse of needles, fingerstick devices and syringes, according to the CDC. To help protect residents from contracting viral hepatitis, it’s important that long-term healthcare workers consistently practice injection safety.
- Never administer medications from the same syringe to more than one patient, even if the needle is changed.
- After a syringe or needle has been used to enter or connect to a patient’s IV it is contaminated and should not be used on another patient or to enter a medication vial.
- Never enter a vial with a used syringe or needle.
- Never use medications packaged as single-dose vials for more than one patient.
- Assign medications packaged as multi-dose vials to a single patient whenever possible.
- Do not use bags or bottles of intravenous solution as a common source of supply for more than one patient.
- Follow proper infection control practices during the preparation and administration of injected medications.
- Wear a surgical mask when placing a catheter or injecting material into the spinal canal or subdural space.
The Compliance Store has several resources to help long-term care facilities protect their residents from viral hepatitis and other infections related to unsafe injection practices. To learn more, go to www.TheComplianceStore.com.