In reality, keeping a clinic or practice sterile is not an easy task. Maintaining a facility free from all kinds of living microorganisms is a large-scale coverage and an intimidating process to do. Adding to the strenuous job is organism-laden patients, instruments, surfaces, tools, and equipment. That all said, makes the duty more arduous, and thus, a more challenging demand for medical and surgical teams today.
Nevertheless, preventing infection in a clinic, practice, or the entire healthcare industry is essential. Apart from saving everyone the monetary cost, people’s lives also get saved when we stop the spread of infection by preventing it. By keeping everything and everyone in the clinic, practice, and all medical facilities sterile reduces the potential for contagion.
Today, the world is facing a global health crisis due to an infectious disease that spreads out through person-to-person and all kinds of surfaces. That is why it is immensely significant to take proper steps in maintaining all healthcare premises and equipment sterilized. By doing so, we are reducing cross-contamination between users and uses.
Sterilization by definition
Sterilization is a meticulous process of cleaning a clinic, practice, or any healthcare facility and all the medical equipment to destroy or eliminate all forms of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. These microscopic organisms, which come in contact with human bodies, settle on the surfaces of medical equipment, tools, and instruments.
Therefore, these medical instruments or tools are still dangerous and may transmit infectious microorganisms when not correctly sterilized. They can look clean, but tiny pieces of blood, tissue, and other debris of microscopic organisms remain. Reusable medical and surgical instruments, which include stethoscopes, scalpels, endoscopes, surgical forceps, and many others, are prone to infectious microscopic organisms when not correctly sterilized or disinfected.
Benefits of Sterilization or Disinfection
Usually, a clinic uses medical equipment to check and examine the patients, while a surgical practice involves tools and equipment that can cut through inside a patient’s tissue or mucous membrane. Both of the procedures have physical contact with human bodies, and so, have high risks of exposure to pathogens, which causes infection, when the medical or surgical instruments used are not sterile.
That said, sterilizing and disinfecting contaminated equipment or instruments in a clinic, practice, or healthcare facility is as important as keeping patients healthy and alive. With that, here are a few benefits of sterilizing medical or surgical instruments and the clinic or practice as a whole.
- The sterilization and disinfection process eliminates the nesting place or breeding-ground of damaging germs to survive.
- Sterile medical or surgical instruments are free from any remaining blood, dirt, pus or discharge, and other foreign microorganisms, which can cause infection to the next patient. Thus, preventing any diseases from spreading out.
- It also reduces the number of harmful bacteria dwelling on the surface of the medical or surgical instruments right after every examination or surgery.
Withal, you can make sure the safe delivery or transportation of medical or surgical equipment and instruments needed to be packaged and assembled for disinfection. It also avoids damages on highly precise tools that have sensitive axis and hinges due to corrosion.
Overall, the whole sterilization or disinfection procedure can guarantee the safeguard of the usage of all medical devices when correctly employed or done.
Why is sterilization or disinfection essential in a clinic or practice?
Strict observation and implementation of the aseptic technique can keep a clinic or practice sterile. Asepsis or aseptic technique is the meticulous process diligently followed by all healthcare professionals to remove all dangerous microscopic organisms that can cause diseases.
It is more than just keeping medical equipment sterilized. Disinfection or sterilization entails the entirety of the healthcare procedure, facility, and personnel.
Surgical practice strictly observes the aseptic method to ensure the non-existence of harmful microorganisms within all types of invasive operations. Surgeons and all medical professionals involved in the process stringently follow a sterile technique, which highly involves specific rigid surgical practices and procedures, to ensure that everything is clean or free from all kinds of infectious microscopic organisms, and therefore, keeping sterility in the facility.
Tips for keeping the clinic or practice sterile and preventing infectious transmission
- You should consider everyone’s body substances, including yours, as potentially infectious.
- Observing hand hygiene, such as vigorous hand washing using plain soap and water, and wearing gloves, before any aseptic operation.
- Using a barrier protection or a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit, like medical gowns, impermeable masks, clean pair of shoes or shoe covers, and caps can also help in keeping a sterile operation room or practice and preventing infectious transmission.
- Always review procedures and relevant requirements for the execution of sterile technique in your surgical practice before even starting invasive procedures.
- Healthcare workers who are ill or sick should not get involved in invasive procedures.
- Strictly observe the safe handling of sharp objects and the correct disposal of medical waste.
- It is also imperative to inform patients of protocols and standard operating procedures to avoid contamination.
Lastly, rigorous and proper cleaning of all surfaces, including areas and equipment is a must. A clinic or practice should strictly implement sterilization and disinfection procedures in all parts and everything that’s in it. Most of all, a medical or surgical practice should conduct a regular maintenance check or examination of equipment and the whole facility for any possible defect, repair, and replacement.
What medical or surgical instruments to sterilize?
Not all medical or surgical instruments need to get sterilized or disinfected. Medical devices or tools that are reusable require sterilization or disinfection. That statement is especially true when these tools came in direct contact with a patient’s body tissues or fluids. These devices are critical items. Hence, they need sterilization.
However, instruments intended for one-time use only don’t need sterilization. As long as the packaging of these devices remains sealed before actual use, you can use them aseptically. Reusing tools intended for single-use will expose patients to infections.