Review for the New Year!
The start of the year is a great time for reflection, we evaluate the year that has recently ended and set goals for the year ahead. For sterilization processing departments, it’s the perfect time to review current protocols, standards, and guidelines.
The best way to review how instruments should be reprocessed is to review the medical equipment manufacturer’s instruction for use. Each Instructions for Use or IFU comes with complete guidelines for how to use the instrument and how to clean and sterilize it effectively. You will use these manufacture guidelines alongside the AAMI recommendations for testing cleaning sterilization cycles.
A quick review of routine cleaning and sterilization monitoring, according to AAMI ST79, 2017:
– Cleaning verification: Mechanical cleaning equipment, such as ultrasonic baths or washer disinfectors, should be tested each day it is used. All test results should be recorded and stored.
– Bowie-Dick tests: A Bowie-Dick test should be performed each day the sterilizer is used, before the first load of the day is processed.
– Biological indicators: should be used for routine sterilizer efficacy monitoring at least weekly, but preferably each day that the sterilizer is used.
– Chemical indicators: should be included in each non-implant bearing load. A biological indicator is required to release an implant containing load.
For more information regarding routine sterilization monitoring, please reference AAMI ST79, 2017.
A patient who trusted the sterilization procedures at HealthPlus Surgical Center in New Jersey, has tested positive for Hepatitis B. A State Department of Health inspection revealed that most of the equipment at the facility was not sterilized properly, and tools were even visibly rusted.
Not following sterilization protocol has left HealthPlus notifying 4,000 of their patients informing them that they may have been exposed or infected with Hepatitis or HIV, encouraging them to get tested. HealthPlus is facing one lawsuit currently, and a possible a class action.