The drumbeat for starting instrument processing at point of use continues. It takes a team with perioperative management, infection preventionists AND SPD leadership to keep pressing for compliance after the latest survey visit.
Compliance involves two important steps: (1) precleaning with sterile water and sterile sponges DURING procedures; and (2) pretreatment with wet towels or chemical sprays to prevent residual soils from drying during transport.
The first puzzle piece is education to motivate teams at point of use in surgical, labor/delivery, endoscopy and other critical departments with heavy soil loads. Clinical teams need to understand how dried soils lead to biofilm, corrosion and instrument damage.
Another puzzle piece is making compliance as easy as possible. For example, non-saline sterile water should be readily available with a method to collect soiled sponges and excess liquid. Contaminated items should NOT be transported in any type of liquid bath.
A third critical puzzle piece is transit time from point of use to central sterile processing. If always under one hour, covering contaminated instruments with wet towels may be sufficient as a moisturizing method. Delays are much more common due to overnight procedures (labor / delivery), processing log jams in SPD, transport from off-site clinics and personnel shortages to transport or process instruments. Delays in transit may create the need for effective pretreatment chemical agents.
Part 2 of this expert series will cover how to select and implement pretreatment spray chemical agents.