TIDI Products Cites Scientific Data Affecting Occupational Health Professional Safety

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AOHP 2015 Attendees Receive Important Information about Eye-Infection Risk and Non-Compliance Danger

TIDI Products, LLC, a leading manufacturer of clinically differentiated, single-use, infection-prevention products, today announced the presentation of important scientific information at the annual meeting of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) in San Francisco, California.

AOHP (http://www.aohp.org) is a professional organization of more than 1,000 occupational health nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, and physician assistants dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of healthcare workers; it is the sole, national, professional organization addressing the needs and concerns of occupational health professionals in healthcare settings. The 2015 gathering features a series of poster presentations aimed at helping reduce risks and dangers faced by healthcare workers on the job. The posters are on display near the registration area through September 11th at noon.

One such poster presentation, “Infectious Disease Transmission via Conjunctiva: Occupational Contamination Risk & The Role of Eyewear,” reviews the harsh reality of conjunctiva—eyes—as an under-addressed source of healthcare worker infection risk. The presentation, by Victor R. Lange, Director of Infection Prevention & Control and Quality & Risk Management of Promise Hospital of San Diego, details how misinformed protocols and choices in personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically in eyewear, can directly affect healthcare worker health, safety, and well-being.

Mr. Lange’s findings are based on a study and a process improvement program he implemented. His research revealed that reusable eyewear—meant to protect healthcare workers—actually can increase cross-contamination and infection risk. Lange found that harmful pathogens remained on 74.4% of reusable eyewear—following disinfection—making reusable eyewear an ongoing source of infection risk. Reusable eyewear, or eyewear with reusable components, may pose a risk of carrying ongoing bioburden, due to an inability to effectively disinfect all surface details, and thereby may increase risk to healthcare workers and patients, determined Lange.

Eye-related infection transmission is proven and contamination risk can be present without a known event. Infectious agents can be introduced to the eye via an imperceptible splash or spray, or by touching the eye with contaminated fingers or objects, such as reused eyewear. Most in-place protocols suggest eyewear be used based on anticipated exposure, and then be discarded, or decontaminated, promptly. However, risk is not always evident, disinfection can be unreliable, and environments and materials, including all types of PPE, can be unknowingly contaminated in the course of care. Lange suggests appropriate, single-use, disposable eyewear be used whenever body fluids are present and whenever masks or gloves are worn. When Lange implemented a multi-departmental program enabling as much, over a 90-day monitoring period, exposure incidents were cut by 100% and 15 splashes and sprays were prevented.

Another poster presentation, “The Eyes Have It—Managing Highest Risk Exposures First,” reviews the circumstances surrounding blood and body fluid (BBF) exposure incidences as well as the risks of low PPE compliance in connection with exposure to mucous membranes of the eyes. The presentation, by Dr. Amber Hogan Mitchell, Executive Director of the International Safety Center, details how healthcare workers often underestimate the risk of non-sharp BBF exposure and, therefore, are lacking in PPE compliance, including of protective eyewear.

Using a collection of quantitative occupational incident data from US hospitals (that contribute to the International Safety Center’s Exposure Prevention Information Network—EPINet®s—surveillance system), Dr. Mitchell concluded that, due to more direct patient contact, nurses are, in fact, more at risk than physicians and other healthcare workers for both sharp object injury and BBF exposures. Surprisingly, a patient’s room, not the operating room, was found to be the most common environment for BBP exposure—totaling nearly 40% of reported incidences.

In addition, the eyes were identified as the most common exposure site—61.9% of reported incidences. And yet, despite the frequency of exposure, appropriate eye protection was reported in use only 7.4% of the time. In other words, lack of proper eye protection occurred well over 50% of the time. Based on the incident data, use of protective eyewear is extremely low given the risk level. Like Mr. Lange, Dr. Mitchell also suggests PPE policy and protocol revision, improved awareness and education, and glove- or mask-level eyewear use in order to aid in healthcare worker risk reduction.

“TIDI Products is dedicated to reducing healthcare worker infection risk through product innovation and clinical education. Easily accessible disposable eyewear is vital in supporting nursing staff occupational health and safety,” stated TIDI Products Chief Commercial Officer Mark Beran. TIDIShield™ single-use eyewear protects eyes from spray and splatter, reduces risk of cross contamination, and is readily available at point-of-use with the TIDI TowerTM, a proprietary dispensing system designed to encourage enhanced compliance. The TIDIShield™ EyeSplash Zero™ program enables eye-splash prevention through nurse education, process improvement, and best-practice products, resulting in heightened risk awareness, reduced risk exposure, and greater PPE compliance. To learn more, visit TIDI Products on September 10th and 11th in AOHP 2015 Exhibitor Booth #34. More information also is available online at http://www.TIDIProducts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Tower-Dispenser-Sell-Sheet.pdf and http://eyewear.tidiproducts.com/eyesplash-zero.

The TIDIShield Registered Trademark is property of TIDI Products, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

About TIDI Products, LLC

TIDI Products, LLC is a leading U.S. manufacturer of single-use, infection-prevention products. TIDI is committed to supporting caregivers in preventing infections by producing innovative infection-control products for hospitals, clinics, dental offices and other environments where infection control is critical. TIDI’s single-use products range from exam table paper, patient capes and gowns, dental bibs, curing light sleeves, intra-oral camera covers, to personal protection equipment (PPE) for providers such as protective eyewear, gowns, masks and gloves, to securement products for catheters and other devices. For more information, please visit http://www.tidiproducts.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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Ellen Hassett Cahill

Mark Beran
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