The toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs used for cancer treatment have been an ongoing concern. The problem extends beyond the patient safety concerns and into the handling of chemotherapy drugs causing work-related risks to the healthcare workforce. The CDC sets out guidelines handling such hazardous drugs.
Internationally, new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year and are expected to stay on the rise. Many cancer treatments rely upon anti-neoplastic chemotherapy. Currently, there are many new anti-neoplastic drugs in use, however some are still under development. Thankfully chemotherapy has been effective for remission from the disease and in some cases a cure. Unfortunately, the exposure to toxicity of these drugs is a challenge for clinicians and the healthcare community.
Ventilation hoods are necessary for compounding, mixing, crushing, cutting, or splitting vials and preparing these drugs to be administered. This helps isolate the medical staff members from drug exposure. Just the same way personal protective apparel minimizes drug contact with the skin, the ventilation hood can protect the respiratory tract.
Electricity powers these ventilation hoods. When the power is on, all is well, but in the event of a power failure, what should be done?
Here are four critical steps to take to ensure the compounding clinician’s toxicity exposure is minimized:
1) Record the time of the shutdown.
2) Any personnel working in the mixing room, must exit immediately and stop any work in progress, leaving it in its place.
3) Remove all protective clothing including outer gloves, outer shoe covers, outer back closing, and inner gloves, immediately after leaving the mixing room. Thoroughly follow hand hygiene procedures.
4) Document the temperature, humidity, and particle counts (if a particle counter is in place) at the time of the shutdown
It’s critically important to have an emergency power plan in place to ensure clinician safety before, during and after compounding. Healthcare providers must think about all possible complications and challenges– including a power failure that could harm their employees.
Is your compounding lab protected from power loss? An informative yet friendly and no pressure conversation may help provide an alternate power solution that will relieve you and your staff of this potential risk. Give us a call today - we’re looking forward to speaking with you.