Earlier, we made mention of the Joint Commission’s investigation into a hospital’s pre-cleaning practices. This topic, point-of-use cleaning and instrument transport, has been a growing trend in surveys.
In 2018, the Joint Commission released a “4-1-1 on Survey Enhancements” which gave an enhanced focus on maintaining the moisture of soiled instruments during transport and staging.
In your facility, you can expect surveyors to ask to see instruments that have just come from surgery, observe how instruments are transported, ask staff how instruments are pre-cleaned, and open a set of sterile instruments to check for the presence of bioburden.
Failure to comply with industry standards for pre-cleaning such as AAMI ST79 will result in a citation, and could be as serious as an Immediate Threat to Life.
Joint Commission Standard IC.02.02.01 EP 3 is the most cited infection control guideline, “High Level Disinfection and Sterilization.”
As you prepare for your next survey, no matter which agency is conducting the survey, take a hard look at pre-cleaning and transport. Pay particular attention to ancillary units that use reusable instruments, such as the Emergency Department, Pre-Op/PACU, Labor and Delivery, Wound Care, etc. Instruments should be pre-cleaned and transported according to policy no matter where they are being used.