Safe Handling Precautions Following Hazardous Drug Administration
ONS’s Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice (Polovich, Whitford, & Oslen, 2009) states that all personnel should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure whenever a risk exists that hazardous drugs will be released into the environment, including handling body fluids of a patient who has received hazardous agents in the past 48 hours. Keep in mind that some drugs may take longer to metabolize, and institutions should determine the length of time precautions will be used. Splashing may occur at any time, and personnel should follow all PPE precautions (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], 2004).
- NIOSH (2004) recommends the use of standard precautions (double gloves and disposable gown) when handling blood, emesis, or excreta of a patient who has received chemotherapy within 48 hours. A face shield should be worn if splashing is possible.
- The skin of patients who are incontinent should be cleaned well with each diaper change, with protective barrier ointment applied to the diaper area to decrease the chance of irritation from contact with urinary metabolites (Polovich, 2011).
- Encourage the use of a toilet rather than urinals or bedpans, when possible, to decrease the potential for spillage (Polovich, 2011).
- If linens become contaminated, use standard precautions and handle them according to your institutional setting and policy. This special handling may or may not include using a plastic bag marked to show that the contents are contaminated and prewashing prior to adding the contaminated laundry to the regular hospital laundry.
- In the home setting, wear gloves when handling contaminated linens. Wash these linens separately, preferably twice, in hot water. Disposable items should be discarded with other hazardous wastes based on local policies.
NIOSH. (2004). Preventing occupational exposure to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs in health care settings. Retrieved August 30, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-165
Polovich, M. (Ed.). (2011). Safe handling of hazardous drug, 2nd Ed.s. Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society.
Polovich, M. Whitford, J.M. & Olsen, M. (Eds.). (2009). Chemotherapy and biotherapy guidelines and recommendations for practice. Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society.