Needlestick rates stuck

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Intravenous news: Hospitals are stuck in a holding pattern in their sharps safety programs. Injury rate dropped implementation of safer sharps in 2001, but many facilities have since reached a plateau.

In about half the cases, the safety mechanisms were not activated, according to sharps injury databases, which indicates that either health care workers haven’t been instructed how to use the devices properly or they don’t feel comfortable activating them. Conventional devices still are commonplace, as well, the data indicate.

For example, for Massachusetts hospitals, the rate was 19.7 sharps injuries per 100 licensed beds in 2002. It dropped to 18.4 per 100 licensed beds in 2003, but then stayed the same in 2004.

Among hospitals in the EPINet network of the International Health care Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, needlesticks declined significantly from 1999 to 2001, but then remained stable since then.

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