7 Things to Do in Response to Needlestick Injury
To help healthcare workers facing possibly one of the scariest situations they may encounter throughout their careers, The American Nurses Association (ANA) has come up with an action plan if they are accidentally stuck with a needle. The healthcare worker should:
- Provide care to exposure site by washing wound and skin with soap and water and flushing mucous membranes with water (for a blood splash or other potentially infectious material exposure incident).
- Immediately seek evaluation and treatment for the injury from the emergency department or your employee health center.
- Report the incident to your supervisor and document it according to employer policy, including the type and brand of device causing injury, department where injury occurred, and explanation of incident.
- Identify and document source patient (if known) who should be tested for HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B (depending on known immunity of healthcare worker). Hospital may have to seek consent.
- Be tested immediately and confidentially for HIV and hepatitis B (if immunity uncertain or unknown) and C.
- Get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) when source patient is unknown. If
source patient tests positive for:
- HIV Then start prophylaxis within two hours of exposure.
- Hepatitis B Then get the hepatitis B Immune Globulin (HBIG) injection and initiate the hepatitis B vaccine series if you are unvaccinated; no treatment necessary if you are vaccinated with known immunity.
- Hepatitis C Then no customary prophylaxis; but consult your physician or other care provider about experimental post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
- Get follow-up testing, counseling and monitoring of post-exposure prophylaxis toxicity.
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