European sharps injury prevention legislation: Impact for palliative care services


Intravenous literature: Gabriel, J. (2012) Sharps injuries and their prevention: what the new European legislation may mean for palliative care services. International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 18(5), p.218-23.


Approximately 3 million health-care workers throughout the world, and more than 1 million in Europe, experience a percutaneous injury each year as a result of accidents with needles or other sharps. The consequences of this can be devastating, ranging from fear, anxiety, discomfort, and embarrassment to contraction of blood-borne infections. A new European Union Directive on the prevention of sharps injuries that must be implemented by May 2013 aims to ensure that health-care workers throughout Europe have access to safer sharps and needle-free devices. The present paper outlines what the introduction of this directive will mean for health-care services, with particular consideration of palliative and specialist palliative care services.

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