What exactly is disinfection, and why is it important?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), preventable infections in health care impact hundreds of millions of people globally each year. Handling contaminated medical equipment and devices causes an excessively high number of HAIs or healthcare-associated infections. These devices are critical for saving patients’ lives and safeguarding health care workers, but they must also be cleaned and disinfected correctly after use, which requires training, equipment, and procedures.

Before beginning the process of disinfecting medical equipment, basic cleaning and disinfecting principles and several fundamental terminologies must be defined. WHO published a document explaining medical equipment decontamination and reprocessing, which divides the decontamination procedure into three stages: cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization.

  1. Cleaning

The first stage is cleaning, which entails removing contagious biological material, dust, and filth from a surface that has to be disinfected. This is done manually or mechanically using water, detergents, or enzymatic solutions. The second stage after physical material removal is disinfection.

  1. Disinfection

Disinfection is eliminating disease-causing organisms from an object to make it safe to handle. Placing medical tools in a washer-sterilizer is one example. Disinfection implies the use of an agent that inactivates practically all disease-causing germs. However, it may not achieve the same decrease in microbial contamination levels as the following stage, sterilization.

  1. Sterilization

Sterilization is a technique that removes germs such as viruses and bacterial spores from the material, and the Sterile Processing Department Technician could be the one assigned to do this. Because sterilization of all patient-care equipment is not required, healthcare policy must determine if cleaning, disinfection, or sterilization is required based on the item’s intended use.

What exactly is the difference between disinfection and sterilization?

Disinfection kills most germs, whereas sterilization kills all microorganisms, good and bad. Sterilization is prevalent in medical settings, usually by an SPT, although disinfection may occur in homes, companies, and schools.

As previously stated, the disinfection of equipment and medical devices is critical in the prevention of HAI. In medical sector settings, defective sterilization of surgical instruments and disinfection of reusable equipment and materials such as endoscopic, respiratory, and transportation devices occur, resulting in infections of patients, health care staff, and visitors.

Martinson College was established to be a vital element of the industry’s ongoing struggle to improve the standards of Central Services and Sterile Processing Departments (CS/SPD) in healthcare institutions across the globe, particularly in the United States. 

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