CDC Seeks to Improve Ambulatory Care Safety

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , July 14, 2011

"Further attention to patient protection is also needed as evidenced by continued outbreaks in ambulatory settings resulting from unsafe injection practices" that have led to patient harm including:

  1. Use of a single syringe with or without the same needle, to administer medication to multiple patients,
  2. Reinsertion of a used syringe, with or without the same needle, into a medication vial or solution container (e.g., saline bag) to obtain additional medication for a single patient and then using that vial or solution container for subsequent patients and
  3. Preparation of medications in close proximity to contaminated supplies or equipment."

Also detailed in the new guideline is a lengthy list of recommendations for proper environmental cleaning and disinfection.

"Emphasis for cleaning and disinfection should be placed on surfaces that are most likely to become contaminated with pathogens, including those in close proximity to the patient (e.g. bedrails) and frequently-touched surfaces in the patient-care environment (e.g. doorknobs)," the CDC said.

"Disinfectant products should not be used as cleaners unless the label indicates the product is suitable for such use."

The CDC recommends guidelines for cleaning medical equipment, such as endoscopes, which can lead to life-threatening infections if improperly decontaminated.

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