Nadine Bellamy-Thomas discusses the best practice approaches to minimise the risk of contamination transfer during reprocessing of medical devices, instrumentation and PPE.
In any clinical or healthcare environment, the risk of infection is one of the most critical factors to manage in order to ensure patients are protected during their treatment and recovery throughout their time in the facility. As well as putting patients in potential danger, the neglect of thorough hygiene practices can be hazardous to the integrity and reputation of practitioners.
This was highlighted in the scandal of Daybrook Dental Practice in Nottinghamshire in 2016, which sparked the “biggest NHS patient recall in history”1 after failings in cleanliness standards led to the testing of 4,526 patients for hepatitis C. Five were found to be infected.
While this was an extreme case, there is always a risk of infection spreading in any clinical environment, and co-infection or secondary infection of patients in care can cause complications with potentially lethal consequences. This risk factor is heightened by the coronavirus pandemic. Cox et al (2020) described how 50% of patients dying of COVID-19 had secondary bacterial infections.2
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