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Sharps injuries and other blood and body fluid exposures among home health care nurses and aides.

Quinn MM; Markkanen PK; Galligan CJ; Kriebel D; Chalupka SM; Kim H; Gore RJ; Sama SR; Laramie AK; Davis L
Am J Public Health 2009 Nov; 99(Suppl 3):S710-S717
OBJECTIVES: We quantified risks of sharp medical device (sharps) injuries and other blood and body fluid exposures among home health care nurses and aides, identified risk factors, assessed the use of sharps with safety features, and evaluated underreporting in workplace-based surveillance. METHODS: We conducted a questionnaire survey and workplace-based surveillance, collaborating with 9 home health care agencies and 2 labor unions from 2006 to 2007. RESULTS: Approximately 35% of nurses and 6.4% of aides had experienced at least 1 sharps injury during their home health care career; corresponding figures for other blood and body fluid exposures were 15.1% and 6.7%, respectively. Annual sharps injuries incidence rates were 5.1 per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) nurses and 1.0 per 100 FTE aides. Medical procedures contributing to sharps injuries were injecting medications, administering fingersticks and heelsticks, and drawing blood. Other contributing factors were sharps disposal, contact with waste, and patient handling. Sharps with safety features frequently were not used. Underreporting of sharps injuries to the workplace-based surveillance system was estimated to be about 50%. CONCLUSIONS: Sharps injuries and other blood and body fluid exposures are serious hazards for home health care nurses and aides. Improvements in hazard intervention are needed.
Exposure-methods; Health-care-personnel; Health-hazards; Health-protection; Health-surveys; Medical-personnel; Medical-services; Needlestick-injuries; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Questionnaires; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Sanitation; Statistical-analysis; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-performance
Margaret M. Quinn, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Ave, Lowell, MA 01854
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Grant; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-008229; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008490
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
American Journal of Public Health
Performing Organization
University of Massachusetts - Lowell
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division