Building community for safe injections!

February 23, 2015

Evelyn McKnight and Lauren Lollini

HONOReform is a proud member of the Safe Injection Practices Coalition. Led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the SIPC developed and distributes the award-winning One and Only Campaign materials (“One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time”). The One & Only Campaign is a public health campaign to raise awareness among patients and healthcare providers about safe injection practices. There are many, many resources designed for healthcare providers –  posters, videos, brochures, checklists, continuing education opportunities and guidance for infection prevention specific to injection safety. There are resources tailored for specific situations such as dentistry and diabetes care.

 While we applaud the efforts of our colleagues and stand beside them, we also must note that materials designed for patients seem, at this stage, inadequate. Currently, this is the core document developed by SIPC to be used specifically for outreach to patients: Patient Brochure.

As an organization composed primarily of patient and health advocates, we understand how difficult it is to provide a thorough and deep message to fellow patients. There are many competing interests in the life of a patient, particularly one who is quite ill. Bringing forward questions about injection safety may not be a high priority when patients are facing a complicated and potentially life-threatening illness. If they are fortunate enough to have family members that advocate for them, those family members are also overwhelmed with information and responsibility.

That said, HONOReform recognizes that there are many patients who are in a position to partner with their healthcare provider to ensure that every injection is a safe one. They are eager for resources that will help them in this partnership. We urge our colleagues throughout the United States (and throughout the world) to prioritize injection safety outreach to patients and communities. To that end, we propose the following recommendations:

    1. Building and sustaining community is essential. Bringing the injection safety message to existing communities (churches, schools, community groups) and encouraging leadership of these groups to focus on injection safety is one of our priorities.
    2. Let’s start thinking of healthcare providers as a community. We often think of our physicians, of all healthcare workers, only as individuals, but nearly all are members of a professional organization, and are seen as strong leaders of their hometown community
    3. Patients, particularly patients who have been affected by unsafe injection practices, are a community! Often patients are deeply committed to spreading the message of injection safety, especially those patients who have been affected by unsafe injections. They are deeply motivated by the altruistic desire to prevent the tragedy that they endured from happening to anyone else. Their stories are powerful and move even the most reluctant among us to action!
    4. Finally, we need a sure-fire way to spread the message. Here in the United States and throughout the word, we are united more and more by technology – the internet, cell phones and social media. Lets work together to harness this amazing technology to achieve our goal – universal adoption of safe injection practices by all healthcare providers for all patients in all healthcare settings!

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