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Needlestick Injuries in Healthcare Settings and the Rule of Infection Control
Needlestick Injuries in Healthcare Settings and the Rule of Infection Control
Issue or Problem
The cases of needlestick injuries within Canadian healthcare sector, especially in the region of Ontario have been high. Higginson and Parry (2013) indicates that healthcare professionals who make use or get exposed to different types of needles are usually at high risk of getting needlestick injuries. The injuries exposes the victims to threat of various types of dangerous inflection, associated with bloodborne pathogens, for instance, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) (Higginson and Parry, 2013). ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† According to Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) various jurisdictions around the world have developed regulations with an aim of healthcare workers adopting safety-engineered needles with an objective of preventing cases of needlestick related injuries. Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) argue that in 2005 before Canadian region of Ontario adopted the use of needle safety regulations, a survey carried out nationally among nurses and other care professions that almost half of the nurses were injured by needles as well as other sharp objects in the course of offering patients with nursing care, especially offering medication injections. The high cases of healthcare professionals reporting needlestic related injuries in Canada clearly shows that the risk of getting inflections associated with this type of injuries is high among the care professionally, particularly nurses.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the prevalence of the cases of needlestick injuries within the Canadian healthcare setting, especially the major causes of the needlestick injuries among the healthcare workers, such as nurses and physicians. The paper will also looks at the possible measures that can be put in place as way of controlling needlestick injuries in a healthcare setting in Canada.
Methods or Interventions
For purposes of completing this research, data was collected by reviewing literature that exists on needlestic injuries among healthcare professionals, using peer reviewed journals. The use of peer reviewed journals helped in collecting accurate and reliable data on the concept of needlestic injuries, especially on the issues that causes the injuries, the rate of prevalence among the healthcare professionals, particularly in Canada and ways in which the number of injuries arising from needlestick injuries can be reduced in the future. The data collection process started by first defining the topic of the study, especially the specific focus of the study, which in this case was needlestick injuries and rule of controlling it, the two words were used as the key search terms that is needlestick injuries and ways of controlling needlestick injuries. The use of this technique helped in search of data from different databases, which was directly related to the subject of the study.
The issue of needlestick injuries is very significant in understanding it as it poses a huge occupation hazard among the healthcare professionals. For example, Higginson and Parry (2013) indicates that the injuries exposes the victims to threat of various types of dangerous inflection, associated with bloodborne pathogens, for instance, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, HIV. Also,¬† nurses have reporting at one point in their career within Canada having being exposed to needlestick injuries, an indication that it is major threat to the safety of healthcare workers in Canada and other parts of the world (Chambers, Mustard and Etches, 2015).
In Canada, particularly the Ontario region, from 2011 the government implemented a regulation encouraging the use of safety-engineered needles among the healthcare professionals. However, the major gaps in the implementation of this regulation is lack of adequate information on what mainly causes needlestick injuries and the best alternative control measures, rather than just regulations.
Findings or Results
Prevalence of the problem: In understanding the needlestick injuries, one of the major areas of focus of the literature review was to determine the prevalence of the problem among the healthcare workers in Canada and different parts of the world. In a study carried out by Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) it revealed that almost half of the nurses working in the healthcare sector in 2005 reported having encountered injuries related to needlestick injuries as well as other sharp objects in the course of their work. Also, Kevitt and Hayes (2014) in a study revealed that despite a number of safety measures being implemented in relations to reducing the number of needlestick injuries in medical teaching school for a period of ten years, the cases of injuries among the healthcare workers in the school have not reduced. The study by Kevitt and Hayes is an indication that the current safety measures being used still remains ineffective in reducing the occupational hazard of needlestick injuries among the healthcare workers. The infectiveness of the methods of safety being used in hospitals currently in different parts of the world, particularly Canada raises major issues of concerns, as it shows that most of the healthcare workers, especially those who comes into constant exposure with sharp objects and needles are usually at high risk of getting infections associated with needlstick injuries (Riddell, Kennedy and Tong, 2015).
Also, Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) revealed that exposure to needlestick injuries exposes healthcare professionals to different types of dangers, such as getting infected with HIV virus, hepatitis viruses, putting their health at risk. For example, Wicker et al (2014) indicates that infections associated with needlestick injuries in the past have resulted in the death of healthcare professionals. The death of workers in the healthcare setting due to needlestick injuries shows that this is a serious problem that needs appropriate measures to be put in place with an objective of addressing its hazards in the future, especially increasing the safety of healthcare workers within the Canadian region and different parts of the world.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Causes of needlestick injuries: A number of studies have been carried out in the past with an objective of determining the major causes of needlestick injuries among the healthcare workers. The table below summarizes some of the major causes of injuries associated with needlestick;
|Causes of Needlestick injuries||Risk of occurrence|
|Tiredness among the healthcare workers||High|
|Failure to adhere to safety guidelines||Moderate|
|Injury from a third party||Most likely|
|Injury causes by patient movement||High|
|Failure of safety measures working effectively||Moderate|
Table 1: showing the causes of needlestick injuries among healthcare workers
The above table indicates that there are multiple factors that put at risk the healthcare workers to the hazard of needlestick injuries. Table one indicates that tiredness among the healthcare workers is a major factor that puts them at high risk of getting injured by needles when serving patients. According to Higginson and Parry (2013) a large number of healthcare professionals, such as nurses who have reported incidences of needlestick injuries indicated that they were tired at the time they were injured, thereby lacking proper concentration. Also, Wicker et al (2014) indicates that tiredness among healthcare workers, especially those working for long hours or in congested healthcare settings are usually at high risk of getting needlestick injuries. Table 1 also indicates that failure to adhere the safety guidelines provided to healthcare workers when serving patients using sharp objects and needles poses huge risk of getting injured by needlesticks. Joseph et al (2014) indicates that in South India, healthcare workers reports most of the injuries as arising from failure of safety guidelines not being followed before and after using needles. For example, failure of used needlsticks being disposed properly increases the risk of injures among the healthcare professionals. Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) argues that in the Canadian setting the high cases of injuries have been reported due to failure of some of healthcare professionals adhering to safety guidelines on how needles are supposed to be used and disposed.
Furthermore, table 1 reveals that third parties can also cause injuries associated to needlestick to an individual working in a healthcare setting. For example, patient movement during injection and colleagues mistakenly injuring someone during a surgery can also be factors that pose a threat of needlestick injuries within the healthcare setting. According to Wicker et al (2014) there is a substantial numbers of injuries among healthcare professionals associated with sharp objects, such as needlesticks that have been reported as caused by third parties. Patient movement, especially during injections exposes the healthcare worker, such as a nurse to the risk of injuring herself with a needle. In addition, work or family related stress can also increase the risk of one getting injured by needlestick when providing care to patients. Rohde et al (2013) indicates stress among nurses have been reported as having caused needlestick injuries in a number of cases, as it reduces their levels of concentration, thereby increasing the threat of getting injured by sharp objects when serving patients. Finally, Wicker et al (2014) reveals that at times some safety measures end up failing to work, and this puts the healthcare professionals at risk of having injuries from needlesticks.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Prevention measures: A number of prevention measures around the globe have been devised as ways of reducing injuries associated with needlestick and other sharp objects within healthcare settings. Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) points out that adoption of safety-engineered needles in the Canadian healthcare setting has reduced cases of needlestick injuries with a margin of 40% in the recent years. This shows that the using of safety-engineered needles can work effectively in preventing injuries when using needlesticks, especially when injecting patients with medications. Wicker et al (2014) indicates that there is need of elimination of unnecessary injections to patients by healthcare workers as a way of preventing needlestick injuries. The move would have a positive impact in reducing the risk of expose. Alternatively, Higginson and Parry (2013) indicate that needlestick injuries threat can be reduced by having healthcare workers immunized against HPV virus. The goal of the immunization is to ensure that even after being exposed to injuries, then the threat of developing fatal infections related to bloodborne injuries, reduced the threat of having diseases, such as HIV. Riddell, Kennedy and Tong (2015) reveal that following safety standards universally acceptable while using needles to make injections and after using them can help in reducing the threat of needlestick injuries. For example, when needlesticks are properly disposed after use, then the threat of injuries arising from them reduces significantly.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Importance of results to public health: Research is critical in helping policy makers in the field of public health to make evidence based policies on different issues of concern. The findings presented in this paper are significant to public health in Canada and different parts of the world as far as dealing with the occupational hazard of needlestick injuries is concerned. First, the findings of this research are significant in creating awareness of the major threat presented by healthcare setting needlestick injuries, especially the levels of prevalence. For instance, the findings by Wicker et al (2014) indicating that deaths have been reported among healthcare professionals as a result of fatal infections developed after needlestick injuries shows that the issue is of major public health policy concern. Therefore, high level of prevalence would help the public health policy makers understand the huge threat the workplace needlestick injuries posses to healthcare professionals. For example, the findings of the research can be used by the public health policy makers to advocate for funding from the government in Canada to support various safety measures aimed at reducing the high cases reported of needlestick injuries among the healthcare professionals in the future.
Also, the findings of the study are important to the field of public health as they reveal some of the major causes of needlestick injuries. For example, the study reveals that stress, tiredness, failure to adhere to safety guidelines on use and disposal of needlesticks are the leading causes of needlestick injuries in the workplace. Higginson and Parry (2013) study revealed that healthcare professionals, such as nurses who have reported incidences of needlestick injuries indicated that they were tired at the time they were injured, thereby lacking proper concentration. Thus, based in the literature evidence presented in this study showing the major causes of injuries among the healthcare professionals associated with needlesticks, it would be easier to come up with public health policies and measures aimed at dealing with factors that puts healthcare workers at risk of getting injured by sharp objects, such as needlestick in the cause of offering healthcare services to the patients.
Last but not least, the findings of this research can be useful in providing strategic direction in the field of public health, especially in developing the rules of controlling inflections arising from needlestick injuries. For example, the findings presented in the paper by Chambers, Mustard and Etches (2015) indicating that the causes of needlestick injuries in Ontario Canada since 2011 have reduced significantly, following the implementation of the safety-engineered needles, can be used as basis of adopting safety-engineered needles in other parts of Canada and different parts in the world as way of handling needlestick injuries among the healthcare professionals. Some of the safety measures that can be effectively used in dealing with needlestick injuries within a healthcare setting as presented in this research includes immunization against HPV virus, using the acceptable universal standards in use and disposal of needles and adhering to safety guidelines on how to use the best safety-engineered needs or techniques. The measures can be part of public healthcare policy in handling the high cases of injuries arising from needlesticks among healthcare professionals in the future.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Challenges, barriers and opportunities: The findings of this research reveals that the biggest challenge to healthcare population policies on needlestick injuries is lack of education among the members of the public on the risk and dangers associated with occupational hazard of injuries arising from sharp objects in healthcare setting. Wicker et al (2014) indicates that most of the people lacks awareness of the major threat that needlestick injuries poses to healthcare workers, and thus, it becomes difficult to pass public policies that can enhance their safety, especially when the public lack appropriate information on the dangers associated with this problem.
The findings of the study, reveals that when offering healthcare services, the trauma associated with needlestick injuries can result in the care providers failing to provide quality care. According to Higginson and Parry (2013) when exposed to needlestick injuries healthcare professionals end up being traumatized and stressed, something that impacts negatively on their capabilities of providing appropriate healthcare services to the patients that are of high quality in the future, where injections and use of sharp objects is involved. However, the findings of this study provide a great opportunity for improving healthcare and clinical services to the members of the public as well as healthcare workers. First, the findings of the study can be used in guiding policy making in area of developing rule of controlling and reducing the hazard of needlestick injuries. For instance, the findings that reveals what causes the injuries and some of the effective measures that have worked in other jurisdictions can be basis of informing safety measures of reducing cases of needlestick injuries among healthcare professionals, such as nurses in the future, leading to improve patient satisfaction and quality of care, as they will be served by happy nurses who fear of getting needle injuries is minimal. Furthermore, the findings of this study would be useful in understanding some of the dangers that healthcare professionals get exposed to when they are injured by needlesticks, as part of creating awareness among healthcare workers, so as to act in cautious way, particularly by following safety guidelines put in place to minimize the risks of injuries and fatal infections associated with sharp object injuries in a healthcare setting.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Research limitations and recommendations for further research: the major limitation of this study is that it is based on secondary data, which was collected in different periods using varying research methods, and this might have reduced the accuracy of some of the findings presented in this paper. Also, the use of non-primary and empirical data, may have limited the capability of the research paper coming up with new set of information related to how needlestick injuries can be handle within the healthcare setting in the future. Primary data can be essential in revealing new trends or findings on the subject of the study, thereby forming the basis of generating new knowledge that can be useful in addressing the issue of needlestick injuries in the future. Hence, it would be recommendable for an empirical evidence based research to be carried out on the subject of the study, particularly on the causes of the needlestick injuries and prevention methods. The use of empirical based research would help in coming up with findings that are more accurate and reliable in handling the causes of needlestick injuries in the healthcare setting in Canada and other parts of the world.
Chambers, A., Mustard, C. A., & Etches, J. (2015). Trends in needlestick injury incidence following regulatory change in Ontario, Canada (2004‚Äď2012): an observational study.¬†BMC health services research,¬†15(1), 127.
Higginson, R., & Parry, A. (2013). Needlestick injuries and safety syringes: a review of the literature.¬†British Journal of Nursing,¬†22(Sup5), S4-S12.
Joseph, N. M., Elan, S., Vadivu, S., & Kanungo, R. (2014). Needlestick injuries among healthcare workers of a tertiary care hospital in South India.¬†Infection control and hospital epidemiology,¬†35(1), 103-105.
Kevitt, F., & Hayes, B. (2014). Sharps injuries in a teaching hospital: changes over a decade.¬†Occupational Medicine,¬†65(2), 135-138.
Riddell, A., Kennedy, I., & Tong, C. Y. (2015). Management of sharps injuries in the healthcare setting.¬†BMJ,¬†351, h3733.
Rohde, K. A., Dupler, A. E., Postma, J., & Sanders, A. (2013). Minimizing nurses’ risks for needlestick injuries in the hospital setting.¬†Workplace health & safety,¬†61(5), 197-202.
Wicker, S., Stirn, A. V., Rabenau, H. F., von Gierke, L., Wutzler, S., & Stephan, C. (2014). Needlestick injuries: causes, preventability and psychological impact.¬†Infection,¬†42(3), 549-552.