Sterilization tips to prevent infection
There are many precautions that must be taken when preventing infection by both healthcare professionals and members of the public. Sterilization is a key way to prevent infection and ultimately save lives. There are gold-standard practices that must be observed in order to prevent patient infection. Here are some key tips for sterilization.
Tip #1: Centralize the Process
When working in a hospital, sterilization should be centralized in the processing department. This central department can better control quality and guarantee all instruments are sterilized, including everything from cardiac to ENT surgical instruments.
Tip #2: Clean Before Sterilization
The second sterilization tip to prevent infection is cleaning patient-care items to a high standard before any sterilization takes place. This cleaning should be done with water and detergent, or with water and enzymatic cleaners. This should take place before the sterilization procedure.
Tip #3: Remove Organic Residue
Removing organic residue means removing any blood, tissue, etc that may be on the instruments. These must be done using cleaning agents that are able to remove visible organic and inorganic residue. This is key to prevent the spread of infection to patients.
Tip #4: Cleaning Soon After Use
Cleaning medical devices as soon as possible after use is important before sterilization takes place. This means that you’re preventing soiled materials becoming dried onto the instruments. When dried materials stick to the instruments, the removal process becomes more difficult and sterilization becomes less effective or ineffective. To prevent the spread of infection, clean surgical instruments immediately after use.
Tip #5: Check the Cleaning Agents
When cleaning your instruments before sterilization, it’s important to ensure the detergents or enzymatic cleaners chosen are compatible with metals and other surgical instrument materials. Make sure to rinse each instrument thoroughly to guarantee the residual levels of cleaning agents are eliminated. By doing this, you’re ensuring the cleaning agents do now interfere with the sterilization process.
Tip #6: Inspect Your Surgical Instruments
The final tip is to inspect your surgical instruments before sterilization takes place. This means identifying any slight imperfections which might impair the sterilization process. These imperfections could include any decrease in the overall integrity of the instrument. It’s recommended to discard or repair any instruments that cannot be sterilized effectively.
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