The Treatment of Used Surgical Instruments
Cleaning Surgical Instruments with Automated Washer Disinfectors
Automated washer disinfectors (AWDs) are the preferred tool for cleaning surgical instruments and medical devices, both cleaning and disinfecting during a process cycle. Whilst conventional dishwashers work well for their purpose, as they have specific compartments designed specifically for racking dinnerware and cutlery, automated washer disinfectors face many more challenges.
When using an automated washer disinfector, surgical instruments must be positioned in the baskets so that they can be accessed by the spray and washer arms from all sides. This ensures that the instruments are properly cleaned and that all chemical residues from cleaning solutions are thoroughly rinsed from the device.
There are a number of problems that arise from this method. The first is that there are no predetermined sizes for surgical instruments, or washer baskets, what shape they should be or what instrument supports should be used. Another is that water pressure varies greatly and so does the design of the spray system within different automated washer disinfectors.
Read more about optimising surgical instrument cleaning.
Keeping Used Surgical Instruments Moist with Cleaning Spray
It is recommended that surgical instruments are kept moist after use to aid the cleaning process. The purpose of the products is clear, they provide much needed assistance in starting the decontamination process immediately after use. However, there isn’t much guidance regarding the application of cleaning sprays or how long they should be applied for.
The AKI Working Group carried out a study on the compatibility of different steel and aluminium instruments with foam cleaning spray. The study offers some really useful guidance around the use of foam sprays.
Read more about keeping surgical instruments moist.
Protein Removal Through Surgical Instrument Refurbishment
Refurbishment will see your surgical instruments returned to a thing of beauty, however there are more benefits to surgical instrument refurbishment than aesthetic improvements. In the UK there is a requirement to ensure that all high risk instruments, including neurosurgery, meet the 5mg per side limit. With protein testing, instruments can be stripped back, refinished and repassivated to ensure compliance to 5ug per side.
There are also huge financial and patient safety benefits. Read a recent Refurbishment Testimonial from a hospital who have an ongoing proactive refurbishment programme.
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