Achieving Excellence in Infection Control in ASCs

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At the 10th Annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on June 14, 2012, Jean Day, director of clinical operations at Pinnacle III, discussed the key best practices for infection control in ambulatory surgery centers.

Ms. Day said ASC infection prevention plans should include governing board approval and authority, infection preventionist with time and resources, ongoing surveillance and corrective action, goals and measure of achievement as well as inclusion of occupational health and safety.

Human resources and quality controls are critical to ensuring sterile instrumentation in ASCs. Infection preventionists in ASCs must step up as leaders in this area and ensure personnel in the sterilization department is confident and competent and staff is cross-trained to step in for these employees if they are out.

Staff members responsible for the environmental services should be verified for competency and have knowledge specific to cleaning agents used appropriate to level of disinfection. ASCs should also know who cleans what. Microfibers are considered the best medium for picking up microorganisms.

Other key best practices include:

•    High compliance to hand hygiene
•    Knowledge of instructions for use of alcohol wipes
•    Professionally laundered white coats (not home laundered)
•    High performance textiles, including nylons
•    Controlled use of mobile devices for privacy, patient safety and infection control purposes
•    Skin prep choice, based on location of the surgical site, patient tolerance for agency and the product's effectiveness and persistence

Please do not overlook the needs of your workforce, Ms. Day added. ASCs should provide protective personal equipment and enforce use to decrease exposure. In addition, ASCs should be aware of the new influenza vaccination requirement.

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