Health care workers who use or may be exposed to needles are at increased risk of needlestick injuries which can lead to serious infections with bloodborne pathogens. These injuries can be avoided by eliminating the unnecessary use of needles, using safety devices. The present study was aimed at evaluating the impact of a safety-engineered device, with passive fully automatic needlestick protection, on the reduction of needlestick injuries among health care workers.Â
The setting of the study was a network of five public health care institutions situated in a Northern Italian Region. Data about the type of device, the number of employees and the amount of catheter devices used per year were collected through regular meetings with health care workers over a period of five years.
The most remarkable result of this study was represented by the huge risk reduction estimated for safety devices. Indeed, the risk of needlestick injuries due to conventional devices was found to be 25 fold higher than that observed for safety devices. However, it is noteworthy that a discernible part of this excess can be explained by the different background amount of devices used. Moreover, the descriptive analysis suggested that individuals with a poor/moderate training level showed a lower risk, albeit not statistically significant, than those with a good/high training.
In conclusion, there is a convincing evidence of a causal connection between the introduction of safety devices and reduction in the occurrence of needlestick injuries. This consideration pushes to introduce safety devices into daily clinical practice.
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