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Ensuring the cleanliness and safety of hospital medical equipment

Published 30th September, 2014 by Neil Nixon

Ensuring the cleanliness and safety of hospital medical equipment

In environments that house vulnerable people, such as hospitals, it is vital that all materials that come into contact with patients are kept in pristine condition and washed at the correct temperatures.

Day-to-day items and any materials that are used by or come in contact with patients could carry infection and could therefore be a threat to other patients, and the wider hospital environment. To help businesses manage this risk, Miele Professional has released a new e-book about the topic. The following article outlines the content of the e-book which can be downloaded (free of charge) from the Miele Professional website: http://www.miele-professional.co.uk/medical-tipsheet/.

Over the last 20 years, life expectancy has risen by 4.6%, but healthy life by only 3%. This means that people are living longer but often in significantly worse health. The number of patients, procedures and operations is always on the increase, which means that all hospital staff need to be safe in the knowledge that the cleanliness of hospital instruments, equipment, and surgical clothing is assured. Furthermore, if hospitals are to diagnose a patient based on tests carried out in a lab, it's vital that the equipment is free from contaminates and it never impacts the results in any way.

Washer Disinfectors

When reprocessing surgical instruments it is essential that potentially dangerous bacteria and microbial spores are removed whilst maintaining the integrity of the instruments. It is important to have the correct decontamination procedure so that users can keep their reusable instruments in good condition for many years, as surgical instruments are a major asset and represent a significant share of a hospital's capital spend.

As laid out in the Department of Health guidelines (CFPP 01-01 Part D) instruments must be cleaned at temperatures between 45°C and 55°C using a validated detergent. The instruments that are going to be cleaned are rinsed off before they undergo the thermal disinfection stage. Here, the instruments will be rinsed in very hot deionised water at temperatures of around 93°C. The disinfection stage will help to kill off any remaining bioburden before sterilisation. A hot air drying phase then completes the process and ensures not only patient safety by reducing post-operative infections; but also ensures the safety of staff who are constantly using the instruments.

Miele Professional's washer disinfector range starts at a 60cm under bench model to large scale 18 DIN pass through models Miele also offer a validated reprocessing system for Robotic surgery instruments.

Sterilisers

To further ensure that all instruments and tools are free from bacteria, a sterilisation process (as explained in the CFPP 01-01 guidelines) is necessary. Through a combination of steam and high pressure, a sterilisation unit will kill all forms of life, including fungi, bacteria, viruses and spore forms. There are different ways of sterilising instruments and it's key to choose the right method depending on the department it is for. The most common sterilisers for reusable surgical instruments will be using high temperature moist steam under pressure as a media.

For hospital sterile service departments, it's ideal to choose a large capacity porous load steriliser, ideally with double doors (clean to sterile side). Miele Professional's extensive range also contains porous load steam sterilisers from bench top to pass through; sizes from 325 litres to 1,420 litres and Trolley washers up to 3,000mm long.

Dishwashers

In medical and healthcare environments, it's vitally important that all dishware and cutlery is free from bacteria in order to prevent the spread of infection amongst patients. To achieve this, a commercial dishwasher with a disinfection programme is needed. Not only must dishwashers be capable of reaching high temperatures, they must also be able to sustain the heat to destroy all bacteria. Commercial equipment that can disinfect a large amount of dishware and cutlery in a short space of time will be the ideal machine for a medical or healthcare environment. It's key to ensure that the chosen dishwasher can reach disinfection temperature for the required amount of time (like the new Miele Professional HYGIENE model).

Washing Machines

The government's choice framework for policy and procedures CFPP 01-04 'Decontamination of linen for health and social care' lays out the specific requirements for completing laundry in a health care environment. Given the potential bacterial in bedding, clothing and surgical aprons, a washing machine needs to be commercial quality, hard-wearing and capable of disinfecting loads. It is also important that the equipment is WRAS approved to category 5.

All Miele Professional washing machines are WRAS approved to this level.

Tumble Dryers

Having washed and disinfected everything from bedding and aprons, to surgical masks and patient gowns, it's important to dry loads as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining the highest standards of fabric care. A large capacity drum will dry larger loads per cycle meaning less time and energy is spent on drying. And, an energy efficient machine is also an excellent opportunity to reduce operating costs and utility bills. Miele Professional heat pump dryers are available in from 6.5kg – 16kg drum capacity and typically use 60% less energy than standard condenser dryers.

The new Miele Professional e-book can be downloaded by clicking here http://www.miele-professional.co.uk/medical-tipsheet/

For more information on Miele Professional's products, please phone 0844 8936907 or log on to http://www.miele-professional.co.uk/

Article links

http://www.miele-professional.co.uk/