Safety

Tip of the week: Review The Joint Commission's updated info about steam sterilization

Hospital Safety Insider, July 1, 2009

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Based on discussions with industry groups, The Joint Commission plans to focus more closely on all of the critical processes involved in steam sterilization.
 
Though The Joint Commission doesn’t specifically say what prompted this review, it’s likely that surveyors and other observers have noted gaps in steam sterilization policies and procedures.
 
Surveys will be taking close looks at these three critical processes:
  • Proper cleaning and decontamination of instruments prior to sterilization (e.g., removing organic matter from items)
  • Sterilization (e.g., meeting manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • Storage or return of instruments to the sterile field (e.g., avoiding recontamination)
Surveyors will likely ask more healthcare workers about how medical instruments are being cleaned, according to The Joint Commission.



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