Part 1 of a previous Expert article discussed issues for Point of Use precleaning compliance such as multi-department cooperation, education, supplies and analysis of the instrument transit work flow.
Transit time turns out to be a key puzzle piece. If transit time from point of use to final processing is always under one hour, wet towels may be sufficient. But it is far more common to have delays from several hours to overnight.
Healthcare facilities should first reduce and eliminate delays as much as possible. Chemical agents are a secondary strategy to deal with delays over one hour or overnight. Labor and delivery presents a common challenge when the facility has a 12 hour sterile processing department.
An effective pretreatment agent should be compatible with the device. Device processing instructions (IFU) may state “mild, neutral pH or enzymatic”. Chemical information is available on the product label and in the Safety Data Sheet section 3 with pH information in section 9.
Disinfectants are rarely indicated as appropriate pretreatment agents. The disinfectant chemicals are often incompatible. Alcohol is a common ingredient and will fixate protein soils making it harder to clean items at final processing.
Most pretreatment sprays will keep soils wet and prevent drying. The ideal pretreatment agent will also offer anti-corrosive or non-corrosive action and active sustained soil breakdown during transit. Active soil breakdown requires enzymatic agents in the formula or bio-generated enzyme activity. Complete the puzzle by reviewing chemical features when selecting a pretreatment agent.