Part 1 of a part 4 series:
How to clean your instruments- Sanitech Australia Established 1996
How clean is clean?
‘You’ve got to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario’
Clean. Does it mean not dirty and uncontaminated? Yes. Cleanliness is defined in the Oxford Dictionary, as, “free from dirt or contaminated matter, unsoiled”
But here’s the really big point. With the increase in numerous diseases especially iatrogenic contamination we so desperately want to avoid, perhaps it is time to go back to basics and look at cleanliness as a mean of preventing the spread of these diseases. No-one doubts the benefits of correct sterilisation and it is assumed that all clinical practises sterilise their instruments. However, are those sterilised instruments “really clean”?
You know, the owner of a successful Instrument repair business comments that all too often, instruments are sent to him for repair after they had already been “cleaned”. Amazingly when the instruments are dismantled they will often contain old blood and debris! It is likely that sterilized or “cooked” blood and debris on an instrument may be dislodged during a following procedure. Sure, the debris may have been ‘sterilized’, but contaminated instruments or utensils are not sterile, full stop.
So, the cleaning process should not only involve the removal of micro-organisms and body substances from the surface of an instrument; it should also involve the removal of these micro-organisms from all joints of instruments and parts of equipment.
Thorough cleaning is a necessary part of both disinfection and sterilisation. In the past and unfortunately today, in most dental and podiatry clinics outside of a hospital, warm soapy water, to remove visible material, is STILL used.
In today’s climate of resistant bacteria, is “all visible material” good enough? Is warm soapy water used by hand or in the ‘ultrasonic’ good enough? No and you don’t need a degree in physics to understand why. Since 1987 Australian Standard AS2945 stated “hot detergent washing stage 50oc to 70oc min for 2 minutes, plus AS 4815 and 4187 both state in large print: “CAUTION ULTRASONIC CLEANERS CLEAN BUT DO NOT DISINFECT INSTRUMENTS”.
The question arises why do the accreditation people still give Podiatrist, Dental and Orthodontists and the like, a tick is beyond comprehension!, especially when these Standards are developed to protect the health and safety of the Australian public.
You know, ignorance of the law is no excuse when dealing with devices to be used on live humans.
If you’ve ever had a complaint against you, you’ll know just how distressing it can be. Not to mention the time and effort that goes into addressing it … providing records, correspondence and “please explain” yourself.
And you’ve got to agree … receiving a complaint is something you don’t wish on your worst enemy and it’s something you want to avoid at all costs.
So “Why is your clinic”
There really is a simple and easy way, just visit www.sanitech.com.au to view all the features of the Sanitech Benchtop Instrument Washer/Disinfector.
*Heavy artillery = WorkSafe (More inspectors more inspections), NSQHS, DHS, NH