Year of Publication

2015

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Steve Browning, PhD

Committee Member

Lorie Chesnut, DrPH

Committee Member

Sabrina Brown, DrPH

Abstract

Objectives:

The number of cases of needle stick and sharps-related injuries among healthcare workers are difficult to estimate due to underreporting. Multiple research studies have been done in this area but the scale of the problem is substantial and requires further attention. This study focuses on the cases of needle stick injuries and blood born pathogen exposure among health care workers at the University of Kentucky. The purpose of this study is to examine the rates of needle stick vs splash related injuries among the University of Kentucky health care workers from 2009 to 2014, and stratify the frequencies of those cases by job categories and location of injury. We also studied the effect of several variables such as year of exposure, previous exposure, wearing protective equipment, job categories and location of occurrence on the risk to certain types of exposure (sharp, splash or both).

Methods:

Data were obtained from the University of Kentucky health service and these data represent 2,819 cases of body fluids exposures among health care workers at the University of Kentucky from 2007 to 2014. Descriptive statistical analysis of the trends of exposure rates stratified by job categories and locations of exposure are described. A linear regression model was used to describe the trend of the reported blood born pathogen (BBP) exposure cases among the University of Kentucky (UK) health care workers from 2007 to 2014, and the rate of needle stick injuries vs splash related exposures among UK health care workers from 4 2009 to 2014. The Chi-square test was used to examine the association between the type of exposure and five variables, and logistic regression model was used to examine the strength and the direction of this association.

Results:

The number of the reported blood born pathogen (BBP) exposure cases increased gradually from 304 to 420 cases between the years 2007 to 2012, then decreased again to 314 in 2014. The rates of needle stick injuries ranged from 40.92 per 100 beds in 2009-2010 to 44.67 per 100 beds in 2013-2014, with a mean of 46.86 and standard deviation of 6.88. This is higher than the rates of splash related injuries that ranged from 14.72 in 2009-2010 to 12.28 in 2013-2014, with a mean of 14.88 and standard deviation of 3.68. The number of reported blood born pathogen exposure cases among the health care workers at UK has been increasing gradually, with a higher rate of reported cases were among nurses and medical residents/fellows. Locations with the highest number of reported cases were operating rooms and patients’ rooms. Several variables, like wearing protective equipment, previous exposure, job category and location of injury were found to be associated with the type of exposure (sharp, splash or both).

Conclusions:

Our data showed that the rate of reported blood/body fluid exposures among health care workers at the University of Kentucky have been nearly stable over the last few years (between 2008 to 2014) . The rate of needle stick injuries and splash exposures at UK hospital in 2009-2010 was almost double the national rate reported by 5 the exposure prevention information network (EPINet), which is a group of hospitals that voluntarily report information about their exposed workers, in the same period. The results that were found in this study were similar to previous studies, but further research is needed. The University of Kentucky reporting system requires modification especially to address the underreporting issues. Efforts should be directed to decrease injuries among the highest risk jobs and locations, with the highest number of cases.

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