The pace of hospital life tends to stay continuously busy, with patient equipment such as wheelchairs and stretchers being used frequently for multiple patients in a single shift. While conducting mock surveys, we often witness this quick pace with equipment being used, moved in and out of patient rooms, and placed in storage rooms or hallways. How do staff know that equipment is clean and ready for use with the next patient in your organization? There is not a specific standard that states what the identification process of clean versus dirty equipment should entail. Healthcare organizations need to define the identification process so that staff know the cleanliness status of equipment before its next use. To prevent an infection prevention and control issue, the following considerations can assist your organization in enacting a process that staff can implement for patient safety:
Successful identification process examples include:
(1) Using laminated signage that has “clean” and “dirty” printed on opposite sides so that staff can indicate the appropriate side on the equipment. Signage can be hung through a ring on the equipment.
(2) Covering the clean equipment with a plastic bag to denote its readiness. Evaluate the safety of plastic bags on units such as psychiatric units if choosing this process
(3) Designating “clean” locations in storage rooms or alcove that indicates the equipment is clean.
With Infection prevention and control, be sure to train staff on the wet/contact times for the cleaning/disinfecting wipes.
(1) Remind staff that the wet/contact times can be found on the wipe container and that the object being disinfected needs to stay wet for the full wet/contact time, not that the object needs to be untouched for the wet/contact time.
(2) Check the Instructions for Use (IFU) for what type of wipe needs to be used to avoid damage to the equipment.
Select an identification process that works best for your organization and train staff on the process with the proper use of cleaning/disinfecting wipes. Implementing the process will help staff know when patient equipment is clean and ready for the next patient every time.
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Courtemanche & Associates specializes in Healthcare Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance Consulting Services. With over 29 years of being in business and 100+ years of healthcare experience amongst our consulting team, we are ready to assist with your accreditation and regulatory compliance needs.
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