A critical part of maintaining healthcare facilities and providing quality care is understanding how to care for medical devices. Each medical device, big or small, serves a significant purpose in the field. Let’s take a look at some best practices for sanitization that can make or break a device’s ability to perform and optimize a care facility’s level of service.
When Should You Sterilize?
The majority of medical devices need sterilizing after each patient use, with a minor cleansing before repeated use. So, what does this mean? You’ll want to clean devices such as PCA pumps before and after every use. These devices administer the medication directly to a patient. Depending on the administration environment, its condition before use is paramount for safety.
Other equipment, such as medical instruments and hand tools, need to be sterilized immediately after use but can generally be used right away after. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance suggestions when there is any grey area.
Dismantle the Device Completely
The exterior surface and components of any medical device get touched and wiped most often, but if you’re not completely dismantling the machine, you’re not adequately sanitizing it. Unplug the device from all power sources and disconnect all pertinent hoses and attachments.
Follow a standard cleaning method for the hoses and attachments with steam or detergent, then wait for them to dry before reattaching or rehoming. Open and disinfect the device but avoid its primary electrical components to deter mechanical malfunctions when in use.
Choose a Reliable Cleansing Method
There are several ways to sterilize and disinfect medical devices: first, always follow the ’manufacturer’s sanitation specifications. Manufacturers often identify the most suitable cleansing method to ensure device integrity and proper function.
Second, if there are no ’instructions for cleansing, consider one of the following practices:
- Steam sterilization
- Vaporized hydrogen peroxide
- Chemical sterilization with bleach or ethylene oxide
- Dry heat
Please note that the above methods may not be best for all devices or in-house practices.
Adequately Train and Inform Your Staff
Your facility must adequately train and inform all staff members about sanitization measures and best practices. While certain team members will use certain medical devices more than others, you’ll want the whole team to understand the various elements of cleansing and sanitization to avoid malpractice risks. Each team member should start and complete thorough training on a routine basis to maintain ethical standards and receive updated information in a timely manner.
Proper sanitization and sterilization of medical devices are vital components in the healthcare industry. Taking these matters seriously can save your facility from potential litigation or patient infections.