Easy to manage, accurate and convenient are the hallmarks of the insulin pen. These devices have become popular over the past 10 years and are designed to be used multiple times at a time, using a new needle for each injection. Unfortunately, reports of abuse of insulin pens are also increasing. Blood and other biological materials can be returned to the insulin cartridge or depot after the injection. Therefore, like other injection devices, the insulin pen must not be used by more than one person.
To help educate healthcare workers and patients, the Safe Injection Practice Alliance, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has launched an educational campaign and materials to address the safe use of insulin pens. Anyone using an insulin pen should follow these practices to ensure that they do not put themselves or their patients at risk of infection.
1. Change the needle in time. The insulin pen should not be used by more than one person.
2. Insulin pens should be clearly marked with a person's name or other identifying information to ensure that the correct pen is only used for one person.
3. Hospitals and other facilities that use insulin pens and similar devices must have policies that address safe use, and adopt a proactive plan to ensure that employees receive appropriate education before introducing these products, and actively monitor to ensure strict compliance with safety regulations.
4. If multiple use is identified, contact should be immediately notified and appropriate follow-up provided, including testing for blood-borne pathogens.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has instructed surveyors to evaluate the use of insulin pens during facility inspections and cites facilities that have not followed safety measures. However, facilities should not wait for inspections and should immediately evaluate current practices. After all, protection from infections, including those caused by blood-borne pathogens, is the basic expectation of providing health care.
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