National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) manual : healthcare personnel safety component protocol
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National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) manual : healthcare personnel safety component protocol

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      In recent years, occupational hazards faced by healthcare personnel (HCP) in the United States have received increasing attention. Although recommendations, guidelines, and regulations to minimize HCP exposure to such hazards have been developed, additional information is needed to improve HCP safety. In particular, existing surveillance systems are often inadequate to describe the scope and magnitude of occupational exposures to infectious agents and non- infectious occupational hazards that HCP experience, the outcomes of these exposures and injuries, and the impact of preventive measures. The lack of ongoing surveillance of occupational exposures, injuries, and infections in a national network of healthcare facilities using standardized methodology also compromises the ability of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and other public health agencies to identify emerging problems, to monitor trends, and to evaluate preventive measures.

      CDC developed a surveillance system, NaSH or the National Surveillance System for Health Care Workers, that focused on surveillance of exposures and infections among HCP. Operational from 1995 through 2007, NaSH has been replaced by the Healthcare Personnel Safety Component (HPS) of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The component consists of four modules: Blood/Body Fluids Exposure with Exposure Management, Blood/Body Fluids Exposure only, Influenza Exposure Management, and Influenza Vaccination with (or without) Exposure Management. Additional modules are anticipated in the future. Data collected in this surveillance system will assist healthcare facilities, HCP organizations, and public health agencies to monitor and report trends in blood/body fluid exposures, to assess the impact of preventive measures, to characterize antiviral medication use for exposures to influenza and to monitor influenza vaccination rates among HCP. In addition, this surveillance component will allow CDC to monitor national trends, to identify newly emerging hazards for HCP, to assess the risk of occupational infection, and to evaluate measures, including engineering controls, work practices, protective equipment, and postexposure prophylaxis designed to prevent occupationally-acquired infections. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities participating in this system will benefit by receiving technical support and standardized methodologies, including a Web-based application, for conducting surveillance activities on occupational health. The NHSN reporting application will enable participating facilities to analyze their own data and compare these data with a national database.


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