There are few industries where sanitation is more important than in the medical field. In a hospital or other medical facility, sanitation is essential to prevent the spread of disease, keep patients and other coworkers safe, and prevent the contamination of test results. To ensure that your medical facility is as sanitary as possible, it is essential to regularly clean medical devices. These tips on keeping medical devices clean and sterile will help you enhance the safety of your facility.
Understand the Process of Sterilization
Sterilizing medical instruments is a highly detailed and time-consuming process. If not done correctly, you risk exposing your patients to dangerous germs, bacteria, and other contaminants. In order to properly sanitize a medical device, you must complete the generalized steps listed below in the precise order that they are listed.
Whether you are disinfecting or sterilizing a piece of equipment, you must always start by cleaning the device. Upon cleaning the equipment, you can then proceed to disinfecting it, which may involve the use of chemicals to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Some devices will require a high or low level of disinfection. In such a case, you can end the sanitizing process here. If the device requires sterilization, you can proceed to sterilize the device to kill bacteria, spores, and disease-causing microorganisms.
Determine the Level of Sanitation Needed
An important step in the journey of keeping medical devices as clean and sanitary as possible is determining the level of sanitation needed. While some devices require an extremely high level of sterilization, others may only require a lower level of disinfection. The ideal level of disinfection or sterilization of a medical device will depend heavily on its intended use.
For example, critical objects, such as surgical instruments that come into contact with tissue, will require an extremely high degree of sterilization. Semi-critical objects that come into contact with mucous membranes, however, require only a high level of disinfection, as is the case with endoscopes. Lastly, noncritical objects that only come into contact with skin, such as a stethoscope, require a relatively low level of disinfection.
Purchase Medical Devices With Fewer Parting Lines
As previously stated, sterilizing medical devices is often a labor-intensive process that is prone to potentially detrimental errors. To make the process as easy as possible in the future, consider purchasing instruments that have fewer parting lines. Ultimately, the medical devices themselves can have a large impact on how easily and thoroughly you are able to clean them.
Ideally, medical facilities should seek out devices that have minimal seams and parting lines where germs, dirt, and other contaminants can become trapped. For example, medical devices with overmolded components are an advantageous option, as multiple parts can be molded into a single item rather than fused together after the fact, which results in parting lines or creases.