When do you think about updating your infection prevention policies the most? When your hospital is in the midst of a super bug outbreak. Even though that shouldn’t be when you think about updating your policies.
Its like when you’re gas tank is on empty. That’s probably when you’re most likely to think about the cost of gas, do you have enough money with you? Or maybe you play out the scenario of what would happen if you ran out of gas on the side of the road. You probably also check to see if you’re cell phone is charged up in case you need to call a tow truck. There are all sorts of scenarios you need to keep in mind for if you run out of gas in your vehicle, however most people don’t until they absolutely need to. It’s a lot like infections in hospitals.
In Illinois, hospitals are learning to take preventative steps to keep patients safe. The outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) sparked an investigation which affected dozens of patients. They found in most cases the outbreak was linked to the use of dirty endoscopes.
The hospital changed its sterilization procedures after the investigation to not only meet, but exceed manufacturer’s recommendations. They found that the endoscopes were particularly difficult to clean and they could no longer continue cleaning the instruments the same way they were accustomed to.
This type of bacteria has the ability to kill up to half of the people who get serious infections. Those are some staggering statistics and this hospital realized something had to change.
The difficulty this hospital experienced with cleaning endoscopes, is what every hospital in the United States is likely experiencing. They may not realize it yet or they may not want to admit it. Yet the we all know surgical instruments aren’t the same as they were even 5 years ago. We now have the capability of doing some amazing, minimally invasive surgeries today but this also means our cleaning and sterilization methods need to evolve along with those advancements.
Here is an example of what some hospitals and surgery centers are using to target the issue of dirty endoscopes and narrow lumened instruments. This solution not only meets AAMI standards, it blows them out of the water.