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    Point-of-Care Testing Preventing Infections

    Patient-to-patient transmission of Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and other nosocomial infections due to contaminated POCT devices has been increasing in the US – just in the hospital setting, some 2 million patients acquire an infection each year with an estimated 20,000 deaths attributed to the infections.

    While there are a number of modes of transmission including inappropriate hand hygiene techniques, glove usage, linen handling and the like, we’re going to focus on the proper, sanitary use of POCT device.

    Most infections occur during assisted monitoring for a specific test meaning the procedure was performed by a healthcare provider rather than self-testing by the patient. an example would be blood glucose testing in an assisted-living facility when a diabetic patient is being helped by a caregiver. particularly in these assisted-living facilities, HBV outbreaks continued to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) forcing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue Guidelines for Long-Term Care Facilities, Ta G F441.

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    The CMS TAG F441 document specifically requires the cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting of medical devices with an Epa-registered disinfectant detergent or germicide that is labeled for healthcare environments. 4MD Medical offers a number of easy-to-use, Epa-registered disinfectant wipes through our Warehouse to include PDI Super Sani-Cloth and Sani-Cloth plus and metrex Caviwipes1 Wipes.

     

    The practice of not disinfecting a medical device between patient usage potentially exposes them to the spread of blood borne pathogens. POCT devices frequently become contaminated with blood although transmission and infection risks can occur even though blood is not visible. Consideration of storage site disinfection must also be addressed; device contact with a blood-contaminated storage area also may contribute to contamination.

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    Another solution would be to consider a single-use, disposable medical device although not practical with a POCT device; however, the use of a single-use, safety lancet device would be an obvious must. available single-use, safety lancets through 4MD Medical include: pro advantage pressure activated Lancet; Becton Dickinson microtainer Contact-activated Safety Lancet; Arkray assure Haemolance plus Lancets; Owen-mumford Unistik Single-use Safety Lancet and Terumo Capiject Safety Lancets.

    Simple Recommendations to Reduce infections:

    • Use a single-use, safety lancet.
    • Assisted living facilities – for best practices, assign a POCT testing device for each resident (IE: blood glucose monitor)
    • Clean & disinfect the POCT device after each use if single patient assignment is not practical (IE: coagulation monitor)
    • Always practice good hand-hygiene protocols and change gloves between patients

    By Brad Thompson

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