Glucose Meters and Infection Control
PDF Version of DQA 08-013
(PDF, 38 KB)
Glucose Meters and Infection Control
The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) has observed instances in
facilities where facility staff have not adhered to the standards of
practice to prevent patient-to-patient transmission of bloodborne pathogens
when using glucose meters. Patient-to-patient transmission of bloodborne
pathogens is a well known risk when lancets, needles, and syringes are
reused between patients. However, patient to patient transmission of
pathogens facilitated through the use of devices such as glucose meters may
not be as well known.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published
recommendations for infection control and safe injection practices to
prevent patient-to-patient transmission of bloodborne pathogens. Facility
staff should evaluate practices related to glucose meter, lancet, and needle
use, especially related to insulin administration, as these constitute
practices for which DQA staff have observed problems.
Following are specific infection control recommendations published by the
CDC that focus on diabetes-care procedures in healthcare and group residence
Prepare medications such as insulin in a
centralized medication area; multiple dose insulin vials should be
assigned to individual patients and labeled appropriately.
Never reuse needles, syringes, or lancets.
Restrict use of fingerstick capillary blood
sampling devices to individual patients.
Consider selecting single-use lancets that
permanently retract upon puncture.
Dispose of used fingerstick devices and
lancets at the point of use in an approved sharps container.
Environmental surfaces and equipment such
as glucose meters should be decontaminated regularly, and any time
contamination with blood or body fluids occurs or is suspected.
Glucose meters should be assigned to
individual patients. If glucose meters are shared between patients, the
devices should be cleaned and disinfected between each patient use.
Maintain supplies and equipment such as
fingerstick devices and glucose meters within individual patient rooms,
Any trays or carts used to deliver
medications or supplies to individual patients should remain outside
Do not carry supplies and medications in
pockets. Because of possible inadvertent contamination, unused supplies
and medications taken to a patient's bedside during fingerstick
monitoring or insulin administration should not be used for another
Wear gloves during fingerstick blood
glucose monitoring, administration of insulin, and any other procedure
involving potential exposure to blood or body fluids.
Change gloves between patient contacts and
after every procedure that involves potential exposure to blood or body
fluids, including fingerstick blood sampling.
- Perform hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitizer
immediately after removing gloves and before touching medical supplies
used on other patients.
Additional information regarding diabetes care recommendations and other
activities can be accessed at:
Items from the CDC website can be printed as poster-type documents to be
displayed in facilities.
Specific guidelines for cleaning glucose meters may vary with the
manufacturer. The manufacturer should be consulted to determine which
cleaning procedures, specific to glucose meter sharing, should be adhered
to. If the manufacturer does not have specific requirements, there are CDC
guidelines for environmental care in healthcare facilities which can be
found at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/guidelines/Enviro_guide_03.pdf
If you have additional questions, please contact:
Doug Englebert at 608-266-5388, or
Vicky Griffin at 414-227-4705.
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