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Risk of sharps injuries and blood exposures among home health care workers.

Quinn-MM; Markkanen-PK; Galligan-C; Chalupka-S; Kim-H; Gore-R; Sama-S; Kriebel-D; Laramie-AK; Davis-L
APHA 136th Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Diego, California, October 25-29, 2008. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2008 Oct; :182600
A questionnaire survey of home health care (HHC) nurses and aides was conducted to estimate their risk of injuries from sharp medical devices ("sharps") and other blood/body fluid exposures. Risk factors for injuries and exposures also were evaluated, including the availability and use of sharp medical devices with safety features ("safety sharps"). Participants were recruited from 8 HHC agencies (26 offices) and 2 unions. Questionnaire topics included demographics, work experience, perceptions of safety climate and training, and hazards at work, as well as questions about sharps injuries (SIs) and other blood/body fluid exposures (BBFEs). Details of circumstances related to the most recent SI and BBFE also were elicited. 1225 usable questionnaires were collected (69% response rate). Over their entire HHC career, 34.9% of nurses and 6.4% of aides had at least one SI; 15.1% of nurses and 6.7% of aides had at least one BBFE. The annual SI rates per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees were 5.1 SI/100 FTE for nurses and 1.0 SI/100 FTE for aides. Per-diem nurses had the highest rate of SI (13.4/100 FTE) while full-time nurses had the lowest (2.9/100 FTE). Part-timers had an intermediate rate. Most SIs occurred after use and involved disposal. Analysis of the most recent SIs among nurses for the years 2001 - 2007 showed that 65% of the cases did not use a safety sharp. A range of serious occupational hazards exists in HHC, including SIs and BBFEs. Effective interventions are needed for prevention.
Medical-equipment; Medical-personnel; Questionnaires; Nurses; Injuries; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Training; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Exposure-levels; Body-fluids; Blood-samples; Needlestick-injuries; Hazards; Author Keywords: Home Care; Occupational Health Care
Margaret M. Quinn, ScD, CIH, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Department of Work Environment, School of Health and Environment One University Avenue Lowell MA, 01854
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APHA 136th Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Diego, California, October 25-29, 2008
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University of Massachusetts - Lowell