Hospital Hygiene: Maintaining Cleanliness of Medical Devices
The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend. – Benjamin Disraeli
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Hospitals are places where there is a plethora of disease causing germs. Treating patients suffering from various diseases and also maintaining cleanliness is a daunting task. The devices used for treating patients should be clean and germ free as they are most susceptible to carry bacteria from one patient to another. Surgical instruments, unclean implants etc. not only cause problems for doctors and patients but also the manufacturers as they lose their reputation in the long run.
The reusability factor of medical devices plays an important role in determining the safety of patients. Human factors such as interpreting the cleaning instructions incorrectly, cleaning errors at the point of use, errors during reprocessing and not using the correct materials for cleaning are responsible for reducing the reusability factor.
The US Food and Drug Administration state that there are two important components to establishing safe and effective reprocessing instructions for medical devices. They are:
- Developing the cleaning process and disinfection or sterilization method;
- Validating the cleaning process, disinfection or sterilization method, and the reprocessing instructions to demonstrate that they are complete and understandable to allow for the reuse of the device.
Manufacturers should include a safety range for human factors that could occur during the reprocessing of a medical device. They should have clear instructions of use for their devices. For providing clean and contaminant free devices, they should follow a step-by-step approach for validating cleaning methods for medical devices.
- The manufacturing process should be understood properly. Chemicals that could come into contact with a device during cleaning should be analyzed.
- If there are residues formed after cleaning, they should be identified and their limits should be examined with respect to affecting a person’s health.
- Once the limits are identified, an analytical method should be developed to test for the contaminant.
- The testing method should then be validated for their accuracy to produce precise results.
- Validating the cleaning process is the last step where the device is manufactured again and tested to see if it produces the contaminant. Periodic verifications of the cleaning process should be done during the lifetime of the device.
Maintaining cleanliness in the hospital should be given the utmost priority with special care given to medical devices. A clean hospital makes a good impression on the patients and builds its reputation. Eradicating infection via medical devices and equipments should be the motto of both the manufacturers and the hospital management. Working towards this cause will be highly rewarding for sustaining the life of humans in the long run.