Four Ways to Improve Needle Safety in Your Nursing Home
Consider Needle-Free Injectors
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of needle-related incidents is to reduce your use of needles. Needle-free injectors are one of the biggest innovations on today's medical market. These devices work using high pressure to force liquid through the skin, penetrating it without the need for a needle. Not only are these injectors more comfortable for nursing home residents with a fear of needles, but it's also easier to keep them from spreading infection, and they won't cause sharps injuries. Needle-free systems can be used in place of a whole host of injections, from hormone therapy to insulin treatment.
Use Needles with Shields
If you must use needles in your nursing home, try to use the safest model you can find. These days, there are many needles on the market with built-in shields. Some of these shields are manually slid over the needle after use, while others automatically lock when you lift the needle away from the skin. These shields go a long way in helping to prevent accidental needlestick injuries.
Don't Recap Needles Unless Necessary
If you're not using a shielded needle, you may think it's a good idea to recap needles after use before disposing of them. However, while it may seem like recapping serves the same function as shielding, there's always a risk that you'll accidentally miss the cap and prick yourself. Sometimes the needle can even pierce the cap, stabbing your hand. If you must recap the needles, always use a special recapping safety device.
Dispose of Needles Safely
Needles aren't just a risk when they're in use. They're also a risk when you're disposing of them. Practising safe sharps disposal is one of the best ways to prevent injury and disease transmission. To dispose of needles safely, you'll first need to make sure you have the right sharps disposal bins. Sharps bins are colour coded so they can be properly disposed of; you'll need separate bins for non-contaminated needles (such as those used to draw blood), regular medicine needles (such as those used to administer vitamins), and needles used for cytotoxic medicines (such as cancer drugs). These bins should always be kept well away from the reach of vulnerable residents and should never be overfilled. Once your bins are full, you should contact a sharps removal service. These trained and licensed waste carriers will be able to pick up your sharps box and transport it to an incineration plant. Contact a company like Sharpsweep for more information.