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Healthcare providers and other employees, especially those who do not work in a hospital, may not easily find help after the occurrence of a blood exposure accident. In 2006, a national call center was established in the Netherlands to fill this gap.
All occupational blood exposure accidents reported to the 24-hours-per-day, 7-days-per-week call center from 2007, 2008, and 2009 were analyzed retrospectively for incidence rates, risk assessment, handling, and preventive measures taken.
A total of 2,927 accidents were reported. The highest incidence rates were reported for private clinics and hospitals (68.5 and 54.3 accidents per 1,000 person-years, respectively). Dental practices started reporting incidents frequently after the arrangement of a collective financial agreement with the call center. Employees of ambulance services, midwife practices, and private clinics reported mostly high-risk accidents, whereas penitentiaries frequently reported low-risk accidents. Employees in mental healthcare facilities, private clinics, and midwife practices reported accidents relatively late. The extent of hepatitis B vaccination in mental healthcare facilities, penitentiaries, occupational health services, and cleaning services was low (<70%).
The national call center successfully organized the national registration and handling of blood exposure accidents. The risk of blood exposure accidents could be estimated on the basis of this information for several occupational branches. Targeted preventive measures for healthcare providers and other employees at risk can next be developed.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2012;33(10):1017-1023
Throughout 2003-2005, all blood-exposure incidents registered by an expert counseling center in The Netherlands accessible by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, were analyzed to assess quality improvement in the center's management of such incidents. The expert center was established to handle blood-exposure incidents that occur both inside and outside of a hospital. Infection control practitioners carried out risk assessment, made the practical arrangements associated with managing incidents, and carried out treatment and follow-up, all in accordance with standardized procedures.
We analyzed the time it took for exposed individuals to report the incident, the time required to perform a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test for the source individual when needed, occurrence of injuries, hepatitis B (HBV) vaccination status of exposed individuals, and adherence to protocol at the expert center.
A mean of 465 incidents was registered during each year of the 3-year study period. Although 698 (50%) of 1,394 reported exposures took place in a hospital, 704 (50%) took place outside of a hospital, and 460 (33%) occurred at a time other than regular office hours. HIV tests for source individuals were performed increasingly quickly over the course of the 3-year study period because of earlier reporting and improvements in practical matters associated with performing and processing the tests. The percentage of healthcare workers employed outside a hospital who were vaccinated against HBV increased from 34% (52 of 152) to 70% (119 of 170) during the 3-year study period. Consequently, the administration of immunoglobulin and unnecessary laboratory testing were reduced. In assessing the quality of the expert center, flaws in the handling of incidents were identified in 148 (37%) of 396 incidents analyzed in 2003, compared with 38 (8%) of 461 incidents analyzed in 2005.
The practical matters associated with management of blood-exposure incidents, such as timely reporting and administration of prophylaxis, should be optimized for incidents that occur at times other than regular office hours and outside of hospitals. The establishment of a 24-hour centralized counseling facility that was open 7 days a week to manage blood exposures resulted in significant improvements in incident management and better care.
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