The Importance of Disinfecting Reusable Medical Equipment to Reduce the Spread of Infection

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In health care facilities, the risk of nosocomial infections, or infections acquired in the medical facility, are a serious concern. These infections are generally treatable, but in some cases they may prove deadly to patients. Unfortunately, the CDC estimates that around two million patients acquire nosocomial infections each year within the United States. Around 90,000 patients die due to these infections, which makes reducing the spread of infection a priority in any medical facility.

Reducing the spread of germs and infection requires important measures to be taken, such as implementing and following strict hand washing procedures, careful environmental cleaning in medical facilities and the use of personal protective equipment. However, disinfecting reusable medical equipment properly also helps to reduce the spread of sickness within medical facilities.

According to the CDC, medical facilities should pay attention to manufacturer labels, which provide information on whether a piece of equipment is a single-use item or a reusable piece of equipment. Sterilization or disinfection of reusable medical equipment must be done according to the instructions from the manufacturer to prevent the transmission of infection within the medical facility.

Although the most critical items include equipment that enters the vascular system, sterile tissue, non-intact skin or mucous membranes, medical professionals need to disinfect non-critical items of reusable medical equipment as well. For example, while the stethoscope is considered a piece of non-critical medical equipment, since it generally only contacts skin, studies have shown that stethoscopes have a significant potential to spread germs between patients.

A recent study shows that the stethoscope’s diaphragm potentially harbors a large amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, which is potentially deadly. In fact, the diaphragm usually picks up more bacteria than most of a doctor’s hand during an examination. The study even showed that germs may be harbored on the stethoscope’s tube as well. The implication of this study is that even non-critical pieces of reusable medical equipment must be disinfected to help reduce the spread of infection in medical facilities, ensuring that medical professionals do not inadvertently spread infection when using a stethoscope on patients.

For medical professionals concerned about cleaning their stethoscope to prevent spreading infection, Cleanint offers a solution in the form of the Cleanstethoscope. The product sterilizes stethoscopes between uses, ensuring that germs on the diaphragm are killed, providing health care professionals with one more way they can reduce the spread of infection in their medical facility.

Sources:

http://www.cleanlink.com/cp/article/Reducing-Disease-In-Healthcare-Facilities–5415

http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/settings/outpatient/outpatient-care-gl-standared-precautions.html

http://consumer.healthday.com…

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