DECONTAMINATION LIFE CYCLE
The decontamination life cycle model highlights the extent to which decontamination affects the whole of any health care facility and not just those areas processing equipment. Traditionally, decontamination has been the responsibility of the departmental heads of specialist units, for example sterile services, endoscopy units, theatre surgical suites, etc. Management arrangements within health care facilities often divided these functions and made it difficult for a totally coordinated approach to the application of decontamination standards and practices to be achieved.
Effective decontamination requires the attainment of acceptable standards at all stages of the life cycle. Failure to address issues in any of these stages will result in inadequate decontamination. At all stages of reprocessing, the following issues need to be taken into account:
The aim of decontamination is to make reusable medical devices safe for use on a patient and for staff to handle without presenting an infection hazard. Source: Depot Health
Guidelines & Recommendations
Instrument processing functions should be performed in one central department for safety and cost-effectiveness.
A. Personnel doing the reprocessing should be capable of critical thinking.
B. The supervising organization is responsible for ensuring appropriate training, education, and competency of the staff.
C. Sterilization cycles with little or no dry time are efficacious when used in compliance with validated written instructions provided by the device manufacturers, sterilization equipment manufacturers, and (if applicable) container manufacturers and when done in accordance with professional guidelines.
D. Cleaning, decontamination, and rinsing are critical and users must follow and complete all required processing steps regardless of the sterilization exposure parameters being used.
E. Aseptic transfer from the sterilizer to the point of use is critical to protect items from contamination.
F. Only items sterilized and packaged in materials cleared by the FDA for maintenance of sterility can be stored.
G. The device manufacturer's written instructions for reprocessing any reusable device must be followed. The cycle parameters required to achieve sterilization are determined by the design of an instrument, the characteristics of the load, the sterilizer capabilities, and the packaging (if used).
H. Survey personnel involved in evaluating organizations that sterilize medical items should be knowledgeable and capable of exercising critical thinking and judgment. The regulatory or accrediting agency should evaluate whether the organization's leaders ensure that training, education, and resources are provided and the competency of staff is validated.
I. Quality management is important to ensure compliance with processes and relating those processes to outcomes.
J. Sterilization process monitoring is essential to ensure that sterilization practices are efficacious.
K. Examples of process monitoring tools are physical indicators, biological indicators, and chemical indicators.
L. Instrument inventories should be sufficient to meet anticipated surgical volume and permit the time to complete all critical elements of reprocessing.
The following recommended practices for Cleaning and Care of Surgical Instruments and Powered Equipment were developed by the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Recommended Practices Committee. These recommended practices are intended as guidelines adaptable to various practice settings.
For further explanation of these recommended practices, please visit www.aorn.org
Educational Material to Enhance Your Practice Marketing Solutions:
Guidelines and Recommendations:
Helpful Resource Center:
Back to Instrument Reprocessing