Practice Partner

The Safe Administration of Medication is Critical

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Photo of syringe and two vials of serum

Transmission of blood-borne pathogens (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV) can occur from unsafe and improper medication administration by injection and infusion. To ensure that physicians are using medications appropriately, Public Health Ontario (PHO) has developed some questions about medication administration in a Frequently Asked Questions document about infection prevention and control lapses. We have reprinted the questions here.

  1. Should the diaphragm of medication vials be wiped prior to accessing with a syringe? Adherence to aseptic technique when accessing medication vials is of utmost importance. Medication vials should be accessed on a surface that is clean and where no dirty, used or potentially contaminated equipment is placed or stored. The access diaphragm of vials should be scrubbed using friction and 70% alcohol and should be allowed to dry before inserting a new needle and new syringe into the vial.
  2. Is it appropriate to use the solutions from multidose vials until the vials are empty? Review the product leaflet for recommended duration of use after entry of the multidose vial and discard opened multidose vials within 28 days, whichever is shorter.
  3. A colleague often leaves a needle protruding from a multidose vial. He says this facilitates his access to the solution. Is this appropriate? Once the medication is drawn up, the needle should be IMMEDIATELY withdrawn from the multidose vial. A needle should NEVER be left in a vial to be attached to a new syringe.

This document was adapted with the permission of Public Health Ontario. Public Health Ontario assumes no responsibility for the content of any publication resulting from translation/changes/adaptation of PHO documents by third parties.