ASC infection control: 3 main surveyor focus areas in 2016

This year, accreditation bodies are focusing on three main infection control areas in ASCs, according to Jennifer Eason, RN, CASC, regional vice president at SurgCenter Development.

The three areas are:Jennifer Eason

1. Airflow. Surveyors are focused on ensuring the airflow is working as designed, particularly in the operating room and sterile processing rooms, to ensure the airflow systems are providing a sanitary environment. Test the airflow in your ASC's ORs and sterile processing rooms frequently to ensure positive air pressure in these locations, says Ms. Eason.

2. Multi-dose vial medication preparation. Surveyors are scrutinizing multi-dose vial use and preparation this year. Multi-dose vials must be prepared in a pharmacy-designated area. Once these vials enter the operating room or are accessed in patient care areas, they are no longer considered a multi-dose vial and can only be used for one patient, says Ms. Eason. Also, if multi-dose vials are stored and accessed appropriately, they must be discarded within 28 days unless the manufacturer specifies differently.

"Surveyors [will] want to review the ASC's policy on the expiration date labeling of multi-dose vials," says Ms. Eason. "Be consistent with following your center's policy."

3. Hand-washing. Thorough and frequent hand-washing is critical for the success of infection control practices at all healthcare facilities. Infection control guidelines recommend that staff members wash their hands before and after each patient encounter. Have a plan in place to monitor hand washing monthly or at least several times a year at your facility, says Ms. Eason.

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