THE DISPOSABLE MOVEMENT
STOPPING INFECTION AND CROSS CONTAMINATION
IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR HOSPITALS AND CLINICS TO MOVE TO DISPOSABLE INSTRUMENTATION
The core reasons for moving from reusable instruments to sterile single use instruments are
Stop cross contamination and stop infection risk
Increased innovative single use products available
Liability and Risk management
Sterilization is not absolute!
For every healthcare practitioner managing the risk of infection and cross-infection will be high on the agenda.
If the practitioner organizes his own disinfection of reuseable instruments, does he have the knowledge to check and fully understand the procedures used by the person charged with the task? Processes to record decontamination and sterilization at surgery level can be lengthy and complex.
If the practitioner subcontracts the procedure a way from his unit to a disinfection centre then effectively he loses control of the procedure.
The identification of Creutzfeld Jacob disease as a prion disease has hastened the move to single use. Prions can survive up to 10 cycles of sterilization according to the centre of clinical excellence in the UK. Single use instruments achieve compliance and peace of mind to practitioners, manager and patients alike.
It is essential healthcare professionals reduce there risk of liability and advocate for the best standard of patient care.
Time / Cost
Time is money if the practitioner or his assistant undertake the reprocessing of reuseable instruments you need to ask is that the effective use of their time. The true cost of reprocessing is the time spent undertaking the procedure. You also need to factor in cost of training courses
If instruments are sent away for reprocessing there is always the risk of loss or the turn round time on packs not being met. When this happens the true cost of the reprocessing is a delayed procedure time wasted for the practitioner and patient.
Sterilisation of reuseable instruments is not absolute
For sterilisation to be affective then cleaning of devices has to be spot on. When following a procedure is this done. Within half an hour blood products or proteins will bake on to an instrument. These will inhibit sterilization. What lies beneath caked on blood products will not be sterilized and so arguably sterilization is not absolute.
In the UK HTM2030 guidelines on decontamination means that small surgeries are now subject to and have to comply with the same set of standards imposed in hospital decontamination centres.
Cost of Set up to decontaminate
In the UK the cost of setting up in practice with ultrasonic cleaning devices, washer disinfectors and benchtop sterilisers has become prohibitive for the young graduate setting up on his own. This is before his knowledge of what is require to reprocess instruments safely is tested. Consequently using single use instruments as a first option is a cost effective solution. The packs also lend themselves to being transported when domicillary visits are necessary. It’s therefore a no brainer for a new practitioner setting up on his own.
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