Reprocessing Endoscopes: Are You Wearing Appropriate PPE?

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is dedicated attire and equipment for protection against infections materials. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) blood borne pathogen standards, employers must provide proper PPE to its employees and ensure PPE is being used appropriately.1 OSHA is regulatory, therefore if the OSHA standards are not followed a law […]

Patient Safety – It takes a Village

Professionals in Sterile Processing (SP), the Operating Room (OR) and Infection Preventionists (IP) are mostly focused on their particular role in patient care. They infrequently communicate with each other, unless of course there is a question or concern regarding a patient or an instrument set. However, it is extremely important that these professionals work together […]

Standards, Guidelines and Recommended Practice Crosswalks

Writing new or updating established policies and procedures or preparing for the next accreditation’s survey are both daunting tasks. With all the published standards, guidelines and recommended practices around reprocessing Sterile Processing (SP) managers may be baffled on which ones to follow. However, there are many ways to help interpret how these published documents relate […]

AORN’s Current Guideline for Sterilization

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) published their updated “Guideline for sterilization” last September. The guideline covers recommendations for sterilization reusable medical devices by steam, dry heat, as well as, low temperature methods including ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma or vapor, ozone combined with hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. In addition to addressing […]

Guidelines for Table Top Sterilizers

Medical advances have led to an increased use of unconventional health care sites, such as offices, ambulatory-care centers, dental and other specialty clinical settings. Clinical or office-based practices may differ greatly from hospitals in their education and training of reprocessing employees and the physical design. ANSI/AAMI ST79:2017b Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance […]

Sterilization and High-level Disinfection Guidelines: Should be Based on Current Evidence

Recently, physician societies have published their own guidelines for reprocessing instruments and equipment (e.g., gastroenterology and ophthalmology). These guidelines are very confusing and somewhat disconcerting to expert reprocessing professionals for the following reasons:   Those physician created guidelines did not go out for public comments, leaving no chance of input from reprocessing experts. Some recommendations […]

Point of Use Care for Surgical Instruments: A Hot Button for Surveyors

Care and handling of surgical instruments is a shared responsibility between the Operating Room (OR) and Sterile Processing (SP) personnel. Research has proven that preparation for decontamination must begin at the point of use (POU). However, many facilities are not following the guidelines. Surveyors from accreditation organizations such as The Joint Commission are citing facilities […]

Don’t Process What You Can’t Clean

It has been proven repeatedly that if an item is not properly cleaned it cannot be effectively reprocessed.  Healthcare professionals know, “If it isn’t clean it can’t be sterilized or high-level disinfected”.  The first and most important step in reprocessing reusable medical devices is thorough cleaning and rinsing. So how is cleaning defined? Let’s look […]

Wait! Should We Really Be Processing These? A Closer Look at Properly Processing Put-Ups

Any prudent sterile processing professional knows you must follow the manufacturers’ validated instructions for use (IFU) in order to verify that items can be effectively sterilized.  Manufacturers have very strict rules and regulations that they must follow in order to get approval and clearance to take their products to market. As a sterile processing consultant, […]

Sterilization or Disinfection? It’s time to Modernize the Spaulding Classification System!

In 1968, Dr. Earle Spaulding classified medical devices into three categories based on device usage and body contact.  What we currently know as the Spaulding system, classifies devices as critical (presenting a high risk), semi-critical and non-critical (presenting a low risk) depending on the infection risk involved. The system also classifies the appropriate level of […]

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