By Nancy Chobin, RN, CSPDM
Did This Ever Happen to you?
The schedule today reflects 20 GI scopings. There is only 20 minutes time scheduled between patients. There simply is not enough time to get everything done!
Since the scopes have to be sterilized or high-level disinfected for a specific period of time, the cleaning time will have to be shortened. What else can one do?
While most healthcare professionals understand the need for thorough and complete processing of endoscopes, the reality is that high standards are not always achieved. Let’s examine the risks associated with this practice.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008): “Approximately 46.5 million surgical procedures* ―even more invasive medical procedures―including approximately 39 million gastrointestinal endoscopies are performed each year.
Each procedure involves contact by a medical device or surgical instrument with a patient’s sterile tissue or mucous membranes. A major risk of all such procedures is the introduction of pathogens that can lead to infection. Multiple studies in many countries have documented lack of compliance with established guidelines for disinfection and sterilization.
Failure to comply with scientifically-based guidelines has led to numerous outbreaks. In addition, failure to properly disinfect or sterilize equipment carries not only risk associated with breach of host barriers but also risk for person-to-person transmission (e.g., hepatitis B virus) and transmission of environmental pathogens (e.g., Pseudomonas aeruginosa). In addition, the Center for Public Integrity recently reported instances of “dirty instruments in the OR."