Operating rooms are among the busiest places in a hospital. Between doctors, nurses, other staff members, and patients there is constant chance for contaminating sterile spaces. To minimize the risk, it is critical that all staff have a share understanding of what surfaces should be cleaned, which tool is best, and how to ensure IP efficacy. And while many IP procedures might seem basic, having a clear and concise list is invaluable to combat staff turnover and show IP protocol adherence to possible auditors. Here is a checklist to help your team ensure the OR is sterile and ready for the next patient.
Work as a Team
An operating room is sterilized best when everyone works together in a team effort. The team should consist of a perioperative leader, infection preventionist and ES leaders. Infectious disease and facilities personnel should set the guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the operating room and then disseminate them to staff on an ongoing basis to account for updates, turnover and increase adoption.
Ensure General Decontamination
After surgery everything in the operating room is contaminated and needs to be sterilized. Everyone who is tasked with cleaning the OR should wear gloves the entire time. All furniture should be wiped down with a disinfectant solution, operating pads must be washed, and the casters on all mobile furniture needs to be pushed through the disinfectant solution. Any areas that have blood or other organic debris on them should be washed carefully with a detergent disinfectant.
Focus on High-Touch Surfaces
Surfaces in the ER that are touched frequently need to have more tools dedicated to IC. Incorporating UVC disinfection that provides the most direct pathogen-eliminating light as possible is one good strategy for high-touch surfaces. Look for a system that with multiple sensors your team can place throughout the room to ensure the most effective dosage is delivered. This attending to precision is critical in preventing life-threatening infections.
Look Up and Down
Optimal OR lighting is a big investment for hospitals; they are also a prime location for IP controls. It is essential to wash both stationary and moveable light reflectors with the manufacturer-suggested disinfectant solution. Focus on areas that show obvious debris and make sure lighting is cleaned both in-room after each procedure and if they are moved to another location.
Likewise, floors must be cleaned thoroughly between surgeries. The area directly surrounding the operating area and several feet around it each way should get special attention. Using a wet-vac, combined with best-in-class disinfectants is the best way to ensure an adequate cleaning.
UVC disinfection should be a key component of your IP plan. Select a UVC system that automatically captures and reports disinfection data, ensuring your IP team has the proof of compliance data it needs for efficacy reporting. It should also measure actual UVC dosage using multiple sensors throughout the room vs. just using time based UVC exposure.
Clean and Sterilize Anesthetic Equipment
Take this opportunity to clean all reusable anesthetic equipment, including tubing and masks. These pieces of equipment need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before they are used for another surgical patient. Any disposable parts and pieces should be thrown in the trash.
Discard Used Cleaning Supplies and Trash
No OR cleaning and sterilization process is complete without properly disposing of the cleaning materials. When cleaning is complete, throw away all disposable cleaning cloths and put reusable ones in a dedicated laundry bag. All trash should be put in plastic or impervious receptacles and sealed tightly.
Keep Usability in Mind
To maximize staff adoption and overall efficacy, delivering the right dosage of any IP protocol is essential. Choosing tools that are highly usable, therefore, should be a priority. For instance, your UVC system should have pause and reposition feature that allows staff to easily reposition within a room while cleaning.
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