For each eligible caregiver, a risk assessment committee is formed to analyze whether the caregiver practices exposure-prone procedures as well as his/her contagiousness level. This committee is different for each evaluated caregiver.
This service is confidential. When recommendations are issued concerning the caregiver’s practice or training, SERTIH will first discuss the recommendations with the caregiver. SERTIH will then forward these recommendations to the caregiver’s professional order, educational institution or workplace, which will then ensure implementation and follow-up. The recommendations are also provided to the infected caregiver’s attending physician.
Concerning medical students or residents, recommendations may at times be written without the caregiver’s file being submitted to a risk assessment committee. Such a decision, ratified by the SERTIH Steering Committee, is made in cases where precedents have been established and previously formulated recommendations can be applied in their entirety to a new assessment request.
In most cases, adjustments to working practices are possible. These adjustments will allow the caregiver to pursue his career or studies, provided that the instructions from the order or educational institution are followed.
Benefits of a SERTIH assessment
- SERTIH does not target zero risk, but a sufficiently low risk level so that the caregiver can have a sound practice or training without compromising the safety of his or her patients.
- SERTIH’s assessment supports the employer or any other authority regarding the procedures that the caregiver is authorized to perform.
- If the caregiver practices exposure-prone procedures, the professional order, educational institution, or employer will be informed that the caregiver has a blood-borne infection.
- The recommendations issued by the SERTIH could limit a caregiver’s practice or training activities.
Risk assessment committee
If the infected caregiver’s practice involves exposure-prone procedures, upon reception of signed consent forms and transfer of medical information, the assessment request is submitted to the risk assessment committee. This committee consists of at least:
- A microbiologist / infectious disease specialist;
- A public health specialist;
- A professional from the caregiver’s field of practice or, in the case of a student, a person in charge of the program.
The SERTIH’s medical specialist and the SERTIH’s professional also participate to the risk assessment committee meeting. They are the only ones who know the identity of the caregiver. Other members of the committee have access to non-nominal data.
The risk assessment committee aims to:
- Assess the risk of blood-borne infection transmission based on the infected caregiver’s health status and the nature of exposure-prone procedures that he/she performs or may have to perform as part of his/her clinical practice or training.
- Issue, if applicable, recommendations regarding the caregiver’s future practice or training.
- Issue, when required, recommendations regarding medical follow-up pertaining to the caregiver’s infection.