Cheryl Bryan-Dawkins

Congratulations to Cheryl Bryan-Dawkins RN, CHN, a recipient of the 2009 Wesley Watkins Scholarship Award

“What is the impact of your country’s government regulation on patient education and safety in your facility?”

Government regulation plays an important role in patient’s safety and education in my facility. Safety standard are maintained through policies and regulated by the Medical Association of Jamaica, which ensures that the center maintains the criteria for operation. Policy and procedure manuals are used as tools for safe practices and basic education of both staff and patients, which is in collaboration with the standards set by international regulatory body. The Association for Advancement of Medical Instrument (AAMI) is the primary resource for the industry, professions and government for national and international standards. They also provide multidisciplinary leadership and programs that enhance the ability of the professions, healthcare institutions, and industry to understand, develop, manage, and use medical instrumentation and related technologies safely and effectively.(1) Therefore, government regulations of patient’s safety and education have a positive impact on the safe operations of my facility.

The AAMI standard sets specific guidelines to monitor the water treatment system which is critical to safe dialysis. Specifically, water used for haemodialysis has to be treated to remove harmful and toxic substances such as chloramines. (2) In addition, the water has to be tested for softness daily and bacterial growth monthly. The water must be free of elements such as copper, magnesium, dirt and debris that are detrimental to patient’s health.

Furthermore, other safety precautions are maintained, which includes proper mixing of bicarbonate solution to prevent infection, reprocessing of dialysers for reuse to remove bacteria and debris, single use of dialyzers for infectious patients and labeling of dialysers of non-infectious patients with the correct patient’s name to prevent cross-contaminations. In addition, the Ministry of Health sets specific guidelines for testing patients for blood borne diseases such as Human Immune Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and C and recommends Hepatitis B vaccine for all dialysis patients. Consequently; follow-up tests are done quarterly to protect both staff and patients. Besides, protocols are observed in maintaining universal precaution and isolation. Finally, special precautions are taken when handling blood and body fluid as well as disinfecting haemodialysis machines.

Similarly, patients are educated about the transmission of blood borne diseases which can occur from frequent blood transfusions. Certainly, those who are already infected with blood borne diseases are educated on how to handle blood and body fluid and to practice safe sex to prevent transmission of the virus.

Therefore, the impact of government policies and regulations promotes safe and effective practices of haemodialysis. The AAMI standards, policy and procedure manuals are guidelines for safe practice. The Ministry of Health’s protocol prevents cross- contaminations and universal precaution is practiced. Patient’s education is paramount in remaining healthy on haemodialysis thus decreasing mortality.


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