Carrying out blood tests is an essential procedure in any care home, and yet it is something that can pose safety risks if staff do not follow regulations and strive for best practice.
It is vital to ensure the highest level of safety during all tests, but especially during processes that involve the handling of sharps. During these tests, staff are particularly vulnerable to needlestick injuries, which is why effective needle usage and disposal are of the utmost importance. Read on below to find out more about sharps regulations and how you can keep your staff and residents safe.
To ensure sharps safety at all times, all care homes should follow the UK Sharps Regulations, which are based upon provisions set out in the EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU. These regulations state that employees in the healthcare sector should be given a range of information relating to sharps usage, including guidance on the risk of injury, good practice in preventing injury, and how legislation protects staff from risks to health and safety. There are also regulations on how staff should be trained on using and disposing of sharps.
Best practice for blood tests should take into account a range of factors, from the blood test itself to disposing of sharps afterwards. Safe needle disposal is absolutely essential in a care home, as is having the correct equipment on hand at all times. Care home staff should follow these guidelines to ensure safety during and after blood tests:
A significant part of carrying out safe blood tests is effective staff training, which forms a separate section of the UK Sharps Regulations. Staff need to be regularly and thoroughly trained on the safe use of medical sharps and safety sharps, and should know what to do if they or a colleague are injured by a sharp while at work. They should also be aware of the care home’s procedures for sharps injuries, and should receive up to date information about any changes in policy.
Staff training on safe sharps use should cover the best practice of carrying out blood tests, including how to care for anxious patients and people living with dementia. The training should also feature detailed information about the use of safety sharps and blood testing equipment, as well as how to safely dispose of needles. Training sessions should be scheduled regularly throughout the year, to ensure that new staff are inducted effectively and that existing staff are reminded of the guidelines for best practice.