EXPOSURE SAFETY: Cutting sharps risks in ICUs and CCUs

August 2005 
Volume 35  Number 8
Pages 17 - 17
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WITH MANY CRISIS situations, fast-paced ICUs and CCUs place nurses at high risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Nurses in these units often perform high-intensity therapies and rapid interventions. Critically ill patients need more procedures and blood tests, so nurses use more sharps. In addition, some invasive and diagnostic procedures, such as thoracentesis, are more commonly performed in ICUs than in other patient units.

To understand more about risks to workers in ICUs, we analyzed 5 years of Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet) data (1998 to 2002). Percutaneous injuries in ICUs accounted for almost 7% (687 out of 10,441) of all injuries in hospital settings—the fourth most common location after patient rooms (31%), ORs (29%), and EDs (9%). Sixty-one percent of percutaneous injuries in ICUs were sustained by nurses. For all other hospital settings, 41% of those injured were nurses.

What devices cause injury? ...

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