Accreditation

Surveys focus on steam sterilization

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, September 1, 2009

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In July, The Joint Commission announced a focus on the interpretation of standards and survey process related to sterilization using steam. Let’s be clear that these standards are not new standards; these are just receiving critical attention, as they should. We have seen in the news incidents of exposure to infectious bodily fluids from other patients via equipment that wasn’t appropriately cleaned, disinfected and sterilized.
Cleaning equipment, just like cleaning our hands, is the single most important part of the process for preventing transmission of infection. It appears that the initial focus will be on Central Sterile Processing. The Joint Commission surveyors will focus on observing instruments from the time they leave one operating room to when they are returned. Surveyors will observe the instrument cleaning process, look for appropriate personal protective equipment, and review sterilization logs.

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