Sterile Processing Final Project Instructions
Answer the question using your own words and address the conflict or issues with a solution to the topic, you can utilize your text or other credible sources to build a thorough paper that contains at least six main ideas with supporting details regarding the topic chosen and a minimum of 5 credible References,
The paper must be written in APA or MLA format with an introduction, body, and conclusion, Label your assignment or create a file name with your student number
The two Topics I have chosen for my sterile processing final project are
- Decontamination principles
- Sterilization Methods
Sterile Processing Final Project: Decontamination principles
Decontamination is the physical or chemical removal of harmful microbial life from contaminated inanimate objects. This makes them safe for further use. It involves a combination of actions, including cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization. In healthcare settings, decontamination aims to protect workers and patients who come into contact with medical devices from contracting infections arising from microorganisms on the devices.
In the case study, the surgical technician has noticed dirty instruments in the OR three days in a row which might be due to inadequate cleaning of instruments before sterilization. The causes for this may include washing instrument sets together with silicone wrappers, not washing hinged instruments on a decontamination stringer before washing them, washing devices that require disassembling first without doing so, and not separating filter retention plates to allow full contact with cleaning solution. Moreover, it may be due to decontamination without adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions or increased complexity of surgical instrument design over the years. Increased complexity makes it hard to effectively accomplish decontamination (Chobin et.al., 2012).
The sterile processing unit is where the cleaning and sterilization of medical devices are done. To resolve the issue observed in the case study, the unit can take several measures. First, the unit should ensure that all technicians involved in the decontamination process have the required qualifications and understand the importance of proper decontamination. Second, the unit should review the decontamination process being used by the technicians. The process should be optimized for best results and effective decontamination and sterilization (Rettner, 2019). This also requires ensuring that the staff has the right equipment to effectively clean all devices, including those with complex designs. Additionally, the unit can assess the area in which decontamination takes place to ensure that all the surfaces and cleaning equipment are kept clean at all times, whether they are in use or not.
The decontamination process comprises three main steps; cleaning, enhanced cleaning, and disinfection. Under cleaning, there is the physical removal of dirt, dust, and soil from the device surfaces. This is done daily and may either be manual or automated. This step removes organic matter on which infectious agents thrive but is not effective in eliminating microorganisms from the surfaces (Elsenpeter, 2021). Its success depends on the effectiveness of the process and the amount of bioburden present. The second step, enhanced cleaning, responds to a specific infection prevention and control requirement. For example, suppose a patient is known to be infected with a pathogenic microorganism. In that case, all instruments that have been in close contact with the patient will undergo enhanced cleaning to target the infectious agent. Lastly, disinfection reduces the number of viable infectious agents in a healthcare environment. It may require the use of specific concentrations of chemical agents, especially where an area or a device is confirmed to be infected.
Extra efforts to ensure clean instruments are delivered to surgical sites include paying attention to the storage methods and inspecting the instruments beforehand. The storage area for devices should be clean, dry, and covered to prevent exposure to contaminants. On the other hand, the inspection may be carried out before storage and before delivering the instruments for surgery. This ensures the devices are fully decontaminated before use. Instruments found to be still dirty should be recleaned.
In conclusion, decontamination is an important process in ensuring the safety of patients and healthcare workers as it protects them from avoidable infections. The sterile processing unit is tasked with ensuring that the right procedure is followed during decontamination to ensure the process is effective. This should include important activities such as inspection and proper storage of the devices.
Chobin, N., McManus, S., Maresca, T., Swanson, K., & Wilkander, N. (2012). Dissecting the Dirty Instruments Issue in Healthcare Facilities. Infection Control Today.
Elsenpeter, R. (2021). Brushing Up on Sterile Processing in Dentistry. Infection Control Today, 26(1).
Rettner, R. (2019, June 21). Dirty Surgical Instruments Tied to Hundreds of Infections at Colorado Hospital, Lawsuit Alleges. Retrieved from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/65762-dirty-surgical-instruments-infections-lawsuit.html