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Many home healthcare nurses have experienced sharps injuries. The results showed two important points:
When annual sharps injury rates are expressed as the number of injuries per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (which corrects for the numbers of hours worked), the rates for home healthcare nurses were in the same range as those reported in hospitals:
The sharps injury rate (corrected for the number of hours worked) was highest for per-diem nurses, somewhat lower for part-timers, and lowest for full-time nurses.
The SHARRP survey asked nurses about the circumstances of their most recent sharps injury. We focused our analysis on the 2001–2007 period, following the passage of the federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act in 2000. In the majority of cases (65%), the sharp device (e.g., syringe or lancet) had no integral safety feature.
For nurses, sharps injuries happened most often during or after the following medical procedures:
Most sharps injuries occurred after the sharp device had already served its intended purpose (e.g., at the point of disposal or when it had been set aside by a patient for later reuse or disposal).
Among aides, blood and body fluid exposures occurred more often than sharps injuries. The frequent blood and body fluid exposure risk factors included assisting patients with toileting needs, bathing patients, turning patients, and helping patients get in and out of bed.