In an effort to address current issues specific to infection prevention in our specialty practice, SGNA has recently released a new set of standards. The “Standard of Infection Prevention in the Gastroenterology Setting” is a brand-new standard created to provide information not currently or minimally covered in SGNA’s current standards (such as standard precautions, bloodborne pathogens, environmental cleaning, staff attire, culture of safety, and responses to failure.) The “Standards of Infection Prevention in Reprocessing Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopes” is a revised standard which aims to address the concerns GI professionals have in regards to reprocessing flexible gastrointestinal endoscopes, such as expectations of reprocessing staff and management responsibilities, the steps in reprocessing and rationale for their use, and quality assurance. You can find the full standards on the SGNA website, but to start out, we’ve broken down the top three things you should keep in mind.
1. There are many factors that go into infection prevention.
From details about the endoscope itself (design, model, scratches, etc.) to personnel handling the endoscope (education, familiarity with equipment, training, time constraints, etc.) to the environment (facility layout and amenities, budget for proper equipment, etc.), there are many things to take into account when following standards for infection prevention and endoscope safety. Be sure you are addressing not only the endoscope but also the adequate competency and education of all staff handling the endoscopes.
2. Quality assurance is crucial to endoscope reprocessing success.
It is highly recommended that thorough documentation is maintained. This documentation should not only track vital patient information, but also information about the methods and equipment used to complete the reprocessing procedure. Be sure to include the model and serial number of each endoscopy and accessory used. By keeping careful and thorough records, any potential risks involving damaged or malfunctioning tools can be quickly identified and addressed.
3. There are important updates to reprocessing and storage procedures.
Reprocessing and storing endoscopes and other accessories are a vital part of infection prevention. Using the proper standards for reprocessing and storage can go a long way in preventing the spread of contaminants. One of the most important things to note is that reprocessing and storage should happen in a secure and clean area, physically separated from the patient procedure rooms . Be sure to read through these updated standards to ensure that your facility is following all (nine) recommended procedural updates.
The Standards for Infection Prevention document can be found on the SGNA website. Be sure to also register for upcoming SGNA webinars, which gives attendees the chance to ask specific questions, receive more tips and tricks, and can help further your staff’s understanding of important infection prevention standards.
SGNA is dedicated to the understanding and practice of infection prevention. Keep your eyes here on The Bottom Line for continued updates about safety standards, educational opportunities from SGNA and the latest from the field of gastroenterology.