Surface Contamination With Antineoplastic Drugs on Two Inpatient Oncology Units

AnnMarie Walton

Margaret A. Bush

Christian Douglas

Deborah "Hutch" Allen Martha Polovich

Ivan Spasojevic

surface contamination, antineoplastic drugs, personal protective equipment
ONF 2020, 47(3), 263-272. DOI: 10.1188/20.ONF.263-272

Objectives: To measure surface contamination with antineoplastic drugs on inpatient oncology units and to characterize nursing staff personal protective equipment (PPE) use and factors that predict this use.

Sample & Setting: A descriptive pilot study of two inpatient oncology units at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, administering etoposide and cyclophosphamide.

Methods & Variables: Surfaces in four patient rooms and select shared areas were swabbed with methanol, acetonitrile, and water. Samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Nursing staff (N = 27) answered questions about their demographics, PPE use, and factors that influence PPE use via online survey.

Results: Contamination with cyclophosphamide and etoposide was detectable and quantifiable in 61% and 31% of surfaces tested, respectively. Nursing staff reported suboptimal use of PPE when administering, disposing, and handling excreta of patients. Workplace safety climate was predictive of PPE use.

Implications for Nursing: The potential for contamination with antineoplastic drugs in inpatient oncology units presents exposure risks for healthcare workers, patients, family members, and visitors. Future research and interventions to limit exposure and increase routine surface sampling should focus on those areas of greatest contamination, including toilet seats, a prominent finding from the current study.

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