Many health care facilities are struggling to come into compliance with United States Pharmacopeial Convention Chapter 800 covering the preparation and administration of hazardous drugs. Here are some key points you may want to consider.

Develop a Safety Plan

When you are starting a new health care facility, then it is important to develop a safety plan for dealing with hazardous medicines. The law now says that you must use a hazardous drug CSTD products that are closed. Furthermore, you must make a list of every hazardous drug that is on your premises. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has a list available that you may want to follow as a guideline. You must also create a booklet informing your staff of your hazardous drug procedures.

Designing Your Compounding and Storage Space

Under Chapter 800, you must work with a team to design a negative pressure space area with more than 12 air changes per hour. You must have an area for the drugs to be unpacked in that is sterile for compounding the drugs. While you cannot store hazardous drugs in a positive pressure anteroom you must have one present along with a negative pressure buffer room.

Teach Staff Proper Handling

Your staff should be highly trained in the safe handling of hazardous drugs. For example, the chemicals in many drugs may eat through the gloves normally used in the medical field. Therefore, they must know what procedures they need to follow like double gloving to keep themselves safe.

Develop Patient Right-to-know Materials

You should develop materials designed to teach patients about these medicines. They should outline what the medicine can do to their environment. Furthermore, the guideline may outline important uses for the hazardous medicine.

Plan for Disaster

While everyone hopes that everything goes right all of the time, if you have worked in the medical field very long, then you know that is never going to be the case. Therefore, it is vital that your team be aware of what to do and who is responsible for doing it when something does go wrong. They should know where to put medical equipment that has come in contact with the hazardous drug and is contaminated. They should understand proper clean-up procedures if the medicine gets spilled. Your nursing staff and others should also be taught about how to keep other patients safe if a disaster occurs.

If you are going to use hazardous drugs in your practice, then you must follow each part of Chapter 800. Make sure that you are properly licensed to dispense the drugs before opening your doors using a well-trained staff.