There are no excuses for improperly reprocessed endoscopes. Not anymore. We've all read about the unspeakable tragedies from inadequately reprocessed scopes. We know that any gaps in your procedures could lead to infections. Is your facility up to date with the latest scope reprocessing guidelines? Here are 7 takeaways from the most recent guidance.
Everyone knows the importance of point-of-use pre-cleaning, but some still aren't doing it. Pre-clean as soon as possible after the procedure is complete. The process should include both suctioning cleaning solution through the scope channels to moisten and remove organic soils, and wiping exterior surfaces with a damp, soft, lint-free cloth or sponge. Often overlooked, but equally important: Pre-clean all accessories, too, like suction valves and caps, and keep them with the scope they were used with until the final sterilization or disinfection is finished.
Once they're pre-cleaned, and while still damp, transport flexible scopes horizontally in closed, leak-proof containers labeled as biohazards, regardless of where they're being transported from endoscopy, radiology, the OR, or anywhere else. The one exception: if you're transporting directly from the procedure room into the cleaning room with no possibility that you'll encounter cross-traffic.
3. Manual clean
Along with leak testing, this is one of the most important steps in reprocessing. Done properly with the right tools for the right amount of time, it reduces the level of bioburden both on and in the endoscope, and thus promotes more effective disinfection or sterilization.
Brushes that are too large can damage the internal workings of a scope; brushes that are too small may leave some particulate behind. Use either the brush supplied by or recommended by the scope manufacturer. Plus, use only disposable brushes and use them only once. Using the same brush on multiple scopes is an all-too-common mistake that can have dangerous ramifications.