Hospital Sterilisation and Disinfection Units or HSDUs play an essential role in preventing infection breakouts in hospitals. Their role as part of a hospital is to clean, disinfect and sterilise surgical equipment which in turn keeps both staff and patients safe.
Most clinical equipment used in hospitals is reusable. However, all equipment must be clean and safe before being used on another patient. As part of any hospitals’ infection control procedures, how equipment is cleaned and sterilised is continuously checked and reviewed to ensure the process is as safe as possible.
An HSDU is a busy part of any NHS Trust, and it plays a central role in ensuring patients are treated safely. Every day they have to meet the demands of clinics and theatres who need to have equipment ready to go. Without vital and careful cleaning, medical staff would be unable to use the clinical equipment required to perform surgery or routine procedures.
Most medical devices arriving at an HSDU is from theatre. Many are highly precise tools that have delicate pivots and hinges. Every crevice needs to be washed thoroughly, and they need to be carefully cleaned, so they don’t corrode or break. Depending on what the equipment has been used for, they may arrive at HSDU covered with pus, blood, foreign particles and dirt – all of which needs eliminating before it is reused.
To keep staff safe, they wear protective clothing, and there are systems in place to ensure cross-contamination cannot occur. Instruments are scanned when they first arrive, so they are on a computer system and can be found at any point of the cleaning process. They are also checked to ensure all sets have arrived complete and that nothing is broken.
Any instruments heavily soiled are manually cleaned first, but then the batch is put into a washer disinfector.
What Does a Washer Disinfector do?
A washer disinfector not only cleans but also disinfects medical equipment to ensure it is safe to reuse again. They have different cycles that guarantee each instrument is thoroughly cleaned.
Firstly, using cold water, the washer disinfector will rinse the equipment to remove any soiling. Then detergent is automatically added to clean the equipment. Heat is then used to start the disinfecting process. Usually, the machines have to reach a temperature of 90°c for a certain period of time to destroy any remaining bacteria.
The final stage is drying. A HEPA filter ensures that no bacteria is transferred back onto the instruments through the hot air used in the drying process.
For busy HSDUs, washer disinfectors are essential. They save time and help them meet the cleaning demands of busy hospitals. Dekomed’s washer disinfectors all come with an information and control panel meaning each cycle can be checked, plus there are options to override pre-programmed cycles when required.
Once staff are satisfied all medical devices have been appropriately cleaned, it is taken to the cleanroom to be reassembled, inspected and packaged together.
Not just Clean – Sterile
HSDUs have a one-way system. This means anyone working in a cleanroom will not enter the washing area. The prevention of recontamination is taken very seriously. Once reassembled, the medial devices are put in the auto clave room to be sterilised. Sterilisation involves reaching temperatures of 134°c, and this will not only eliminate any dirt or foreign particles remaining but also decreases bioburden.
Once the equipment has been sterilised, they are clean and ready to be used again. All HSDU staff are trained in all areas of cleaning. Each individual understands the importance of each stage of the cleaning process.
Because of their vital role in keeping patients and staff safe, the washer disinfectors are checked every morning before they are used. Only when staff are satisfied they are working correctly will they start preparing the instruments for cleaning. Spot checks are also carried out throughout the week. Items are picked at random to be tested to ensure the equipment is clean. Any machine failures are spotted quickly, and issues can be resolved promptly.
Dekomed provides maintenance and support, and all our engineers are highly trained specialists. If anything were to go wrong with a machine, our engineers will help quickly and efficiently and with minimal disruption.
A Hospital Sterilisation and Disinfection Unit plays a crucial role in keeping hospitals safe. They provide a cleaning service for all wards and departments within a hospital and have to remain fully operational. Dekomed is proud to support any HSDU with their infection control programme.
If you want to know more about our hospital sterilisation, washer disinfectors, or any other equipment we provide, get in touch.
We are happy to help. Tel: +44 (0)161 483 7333