RAPID CITY, S.D. (Feb. 3, 2020) – On your next doctor visit or hospital stay, you might see nurses and other caregivers wearing extra gowns, gloves and masks while administering medications. Don’t be alarmed. They’re just following new national guidelines to protect health care workers, patients and the environment.
Called USP 800, the guidelines instruct health care workers on properly receiving, unpacking, storing, handling and administering hazardous drugs. For patients, the most visible change will be in the exam room or hospital room. They will see caregivers donning extra protective gear before administering some medications.
Patients generally don’t need the same protective gear, because they need the medication and their exposure is limited to the time they spend receiving the dose, explained Julia Becker, Pharmacy Quality Consultant at Rapid City Hospital. However, caregivers in the course of their work are exposed to these medications almost daily.
USP 800 lists 360 drugs and prescription treatments that are considered hazardous and require special equipment to handle. The list includes hormone therapies such as testosterone, the antifungal drug Fluconazole and the blood thinner Warfarin.
“These are things we have used for years without protection, so it might be surprising to patients,” said Dana Darger, Director of Pharmacy at Monument Health. “However, these changes are good for the long-term health of patients and caregivers.”
The new procedures are scheduled to begin Feb. 4 at all Monument Health hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities.
About Monument Health
Headquartered in Rapid City, S.D., Monument Health (formerly Regional Health) is a community-based health care system with a mission to make a difference, every day. The system offers care in 33 medical specialties and serves 20 communities across western South Dakota and in eastern Wyoming. With over 4,500 physicians and caregivers, Monument Health is comprised of 5 hospitals, 8 specialty and surgical centers and more than 40 medical clinics and health care service centers. Monument Health is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
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