An evaluation of the efficacy of safer sharps devices

Systematic review
Sharps-related injuries carry the risk of serious blood borne infection. A systematic review was undertaken to consider the evidence related to safer sharps devices and their impact on needlestick injury reduction within the healthcare sector. The review sought to determine whether:
- the use of safer sharps devices could reduce the incidence of sharps injury;
- dedicated educational / training initiatives could reduce the incidence of sharps injuries;
- safer sharps devices were accepted by the hospital personnel asked to use them; and
- safer sharps devices had any proven impact on patient care outcomes.
The quality and quantity of evidence was limited, mainly due to study designs used by publishing authors. Despite this, there was sufficient published evidence to consider the use of safer sharps devices to reduce the incidence of sharps injuries amongst UK healthcare workers.
Studies showed that when educational programmes were implemented alongside a safer sharps device, lower rates of sharps injuries were sustained for longer. However, the benefit attributable to education alone could not be isolated from the impact of the introduction of the safer sharps device.
Few studies have investigated user acceptability of safer sharps devices and patient outcomes, and more studies are required to assess these areas with greater certainty.

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