Regardless of where you live or practice, it seems that not a quarter passes without some headline news story of cross contamination and resultant exposure of countless patients to bloodborne diseases and the general public's sense of calamity that ensues. Facilities like Mayo and the VA, although they suffered enormous public relations blows, have the resources to weather such an event. The average provider, however, even in a sizable group practice has suffered irreparable harm, and financial devastation.
In response to these events and countless others that didn't make the Top Story at Six, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new infection control guidelines in 2008 titled Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008 http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/pdf/guidelines/Disinfection_Nov_2008.pdf. These are the gold standard for sterilization practice throughout the United States and beyond; reinforcing several existing techniques, and introducing numerous other concepts that are completely foreign to private practice physicians and facilities.
Chances are excellent that your background did not prepare you for your role as expert on sterilization practices.
If you are like 99% of your peers, chances are excellent that your background, despite dozens of college credits in laboratory science, did not prepare you for your role as expert within your organization on sterilization practices. In short, you have neither the desire nor the expertise to perform this function. Examples of CDC requirements include:
- Conduct infection control rounds periodically (e.g., annually) in high-risk reprocessing areas; ensure reprocessing instructions are current and accurate and are correctly implemented. Document all deviations from policy. All stakeholders should identify what corrective actions will be implemented. CDC – Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008
- Provide comprehensive and intensive training for all staff assigned to reprocess semicritical and critical medical/surgical instruments to ensure they understand the importance of reprocessing these instruments. To achieve and maintain competency, train each member of the staff that reprocesses semicritical and/or critical instruments as follows: 1) provide hands-on training according to the institutional policy for reprocessing critical and semicritical devices; 2) supervise all work until competency is documented for each reprocessing task; 3) conduct competency testing at the beginning of employment and regularly thereafter (e.g., annually); and 4) review the written reprocessing instructions regularly to ensure they comply with the scientific literature and the manufacturer's instructions. CDC – Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008
- For each sterilization cycle, record the type of sterilizer and cycle used; the load identification number, the load contents; the exposure parameters (e.g., time and temperature; the operator's name or initials; and the results of mechanical, chemical, and biological monitoring. CDC – Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008
- Label sterilized items with a load number that indicates the sterilizer used, the cycle or load number, the date of sterilization, and, if applicable, the expiration. CDC – Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008
- Unwrapped items are susceptible to contamination. Avoid storing items loose in drawers or cabinets because unwrapped items cannot be kept sterile. Items stored in this manner are subject to contamination from dust, aerosols generated during treatment, and the hands of personnel who must handle them. CDC – Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008
Infection Control Solutions
Compliance Alliance provides comprehensive written Infection Control Programs including Custom Sterilization Logs, Maintenance and Cleaning/Decontamination Schedules, Communicable Disease Management and Safe Injection Practice Protocols, and Core Competency Certification Programs exclusively tailored to the unique needs of providers throughout the healthcare spectrum. All programs were developed in conjunction with Registered Nurses specializing in infection control, many of whom are currently credentialed by Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) as Infection Control (CIC) specialists.
Infection Control Classes
Here at Compliance Alliance, all courses are conducted in an engaging and interactive format with one of our highly trained and experienced Registered Nurses or Safety Engineers.
Contact us today to discuss how we can be your Infection Control Solutions provider, achieving total compliance!