Sanitize medical equipment is to clean the equipment thoroughly using chemicals to remove bacteria. Medical equipment are divided into three groups by the centre of disease control according to the degree of infection risk associated with each, these are critical, semi critical and non-critical. The process of sanitize these medical equipment is a process called decontamination. With the help of these reusable medical devices doctors and health care provider reuses these equipment to diagnose and treat multiple patients. Endoscopes, stethoscopes and surgical forceps are some examples of reusable medical equipment’s. Adequate sanitization of medical equipment is vital for protecting patients because these devices enters normally to the sterile tissue or the vascular system or through which blood flows should be decontaminate before each use.
Content required for effective sanitisation or reprocessing:
This is the first and essential part of the sanitization process. Health care administration is responsible for selecting which product is capable for clean, sterilize and disinfect medical equipment according to the most current standards and guidelines from the association.
There must be a centralized area approved by reprocessing committee to sanitize medical devices. Decontamination work area should be physically separated from other work areas by wall or partition. Decontamination sinks should be designed and arranged to facilitate soaking, washing and rinsing of equipment with minimum delay between steps. Hand hygiene facility should be located at every entrance and exit of the decontamination area.
A person who is involved in decontamination process should be properly trained and their practice also should be on regular basis. The topics of training are information on cleaning, sterilization and disinfection, infection prevention and control, and occupational health and safety issues.
Written policies and procedures:
These policies and procedures must be followed which are established by public health organisation. The formulation of policies and procedure follows infrastructure and environmental condition.
While reprocessing medical equipment are handled appropriately. Chemicals are labelled and stored in a proper manner. An eyewash fountain should be installed to prevent eyes from chemical and biological agents. Personal protective instruments such as gloves, mask, apron must be used for safety purpose. Storage of food items, application of cosmetics and smoking is not permitted in this area. Hand and arm jewellery is also not allowed in this area.
Transportation and handling of contaminated medical devices:
Closed carts or covered containers with easily cleanable surface should be used for transporting soiled equipment. You should avoid high-traffic, clean storage and patient areas, and it shall be transported by direct route.
Selection of product and level of sanitisation or reprocessing:
Selection of product should be according to the intended use of the device and potential risk of infection involved in using it. There are three categories which tell about the risk involved in using the equipment’s.
- Critical equipment:
These are the devices that enter sterile tissues including the vascular system. You should clean these devices by sterilization. Examples of these instruments are foot care equipment, eye and dental equipment, surgical instruments and biopsy instrument.
- Semi critical equipment:
Equipment come in contact with mucous membrane but do not penetrate or enter them. These instruments should be cleaned by High Level Disinfection, sterilization is preferred. Respiratory therapy device, tonometer and anaesthesia equipment are the example of semi critical device.
- Non critical equipment:
Equipment does not directly touch the patient. It touches only intact skin and not mucous membranes. For these equipment, low level disinfection is sufficient and the examples are oximeters, bedpans, ECG machines and commodes.
Non critical and semi critical medical equipment’s that are owned by the patient and he is reusing the device again and again need not to be disinfect between uses instead they are cleaned adequately and stored dry between uses.