H.16 Protecting Sterile Processing Technicians from Droplet Dispersal in Decontamination During Manual Cleaning of Instrumentation and Scopes
Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most common and costly hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), accounting for 20% of HAIs in hospitalized patients. One of the important aspects of the process of surgical operations and preventing infections is the reprocessing of surgical instrumentation. With this process, there are inherent risks. There have been recent studies demonstrating the risk of droplet dispersal during the manual cleaning and rinsing process for instrumentation and scopes (see below studies by Ofstead and Associates). These studies have shown the amount of droplets exceed that which is protected by the decontam PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as well as traveling up to 6 feet or more within the immediate area. This evidence shows the need for a solution to suppress the dispersal of the droplets at the decontam sink in sterile processing.
The goal of this project is to design a barrier device or solution that can be used to prevent employees working in sterile processing from being splashed by harmful droplets while cleaning and decontaminating instruments and/or scopes in the decontamination area. It is clear that PPE alone cannot protect healthcare workers enough from the amount of droplets dispersed, thus, an additional method of protection must be developed to protect technicians at the point of use.
Please reference the below two studies regarding dispersal of droplets in decontamination during instrumentation and scope reprocessing.
“Droplet dispersal in decontamination areas of instrument reprocessing suites”
“Splash generation and droplet dispersal in a well-designed, centralized high-level disinfection unit.”