What is patient equipment decontamination?

Of all of the possible vectors of transmission of infection in a hospital, patient equipment poses the greatest risk. It is touched and handled regularly by visitors, patients and staff, it is usually highly mobile so is frequently moved to different locations in the ward or even hospital and it is often difficult to physically clean. From our own research and environmental sampling work carried out in partnership with acute hospitals, patient equipment is often more contaminated than the physical built environment but is missed in the daily cleaning and hygiene routines. 

Hygiene Solutions developed the patient equipment decontamination service to manage the proactive and reactive decontamination of equipment in the hospitals and respond to ongoing outbreaks of infection or periods of increased incidence (PII) of infections such as Acinetobactor, VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or C-diff (Clostridium difficile). Typically hospitals deploy this service as a managed contract solution to support and co-ordinate with the hospitals own medical equipment departments and involves liaison with senior hospital management staff to maximise the availability of equipment and minimise the risk of cross contamination.  

This service can be delivered as an On-Call service as part of a Project or as a deployment within your Managed Service provision.

The process for this service follows:

Preparation:

  • You identify a group of equipment where there is a risk of surface contamination. This could be a specific type of patient equipment or it could be patient equipment in a specific area of the hospital
  • We will work with the various stakeholders to pull together a plan to get access to all of the identified patient equipment, ensure it is manually cleaned to an acceptable standard and arrange the location or facility to carry out the decontamination in. This location can be on or off-site. If transport is required our teams will arrange that too
  • Our team will work with all relevant stakeholders including the relevant clinical staff, facilities and domestic services to build a plan that ensures access to the patient equipment without interrupting patient use and other priorities within the hospital

Deployment:

  • We work with you to ensure the area is manually cleaned and that the curtains, linen and other absorbent materials are removed
  • Our technician arrives on site to carry out pre-process safety checks and cohort the equipment ready for decontamination
  • They liaise with the clinical and hospital staff in the adjacent areas to ensure that they are fully informed about the decontamination process
  • They carry out the decontamination process and validate it to ensure it has met specific process parameters
  • Finally, our technician will check the area is safe to readmit patients back into, dismantle the enclosure, and clear the decontamination equipment and systems to allow the clinical staff to prepare the area for the next patient