The most vibrant battle worldwide which every hospital faces is the war against germs! The healthcare environment is full of microorganisms (including spores, viruses, and bacteria). That’s not all, but it also has a few unstable organic compounds that emerge by cleaning products and furniture such as dust, lint from hospital linens and fabrics, sometimes surgical smoke, and sometimes the pollen and scurf from the coat or feathers of various animals brought through hospital staff, patients and visitors as well. The surface usually becomes contaminated as the germs get transferred on the hands of healthcare workers. To beat the spread of infection, the germs must be destroyed before coming in contact with both patients and hospital staff. The primary victim of health-care-associated infections (HAIs) are the patients only, and sadly the infections that patients get is a result of their stay in the hospital. This may be caused due to contaminated equipment, surgical instruments, or improper staff hygiene, as well. And sterilization is a way out. Sterilization is the procedure of killing live bacteria or other microorganisms (usually by heating or by chemical means) from the objects. This process makes an organism barren or infertile. And we provide the best possible hygiene and safety to our patients.
Hygiene and sanitation are essential to us, and we do everything to prevent cross-contamination. It should be mandatory for every hospital to have a battle plan to prevent the spread of HAIs. The hospital’s germ warfare strategy deals with three steps to get rid of infections: cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization. Let’s have a glance over how it is done precisely, starting from the most vulnerable form to the most severe form of germs removal:
The term ‘cleaning’ is basically defined as the eradication of all visible dust, dirt, and other foreign substances. This refers to the cleaning of the visible dirt by using detergent or soap and water. This makes it free of all physical and chemical residues and is rescued from microorganisms. This process of cleaning is enough to reduce the bioburden (or initial contamination) only. For most types of medical equipment, disinfection and sterilization are mandatory. Cleaning all medical equipment is hugely significant because;
- It removes dirt or foreign substances, cleanses blood, and pus, which may cause dangerous complications to other patients.
- It kills the bioburden.
- It gets rid of existing germs and their breeding ground.
- It protects the expensive tools safe from corrosion, which have frailed hinges and pivots.
- It guarantees the safe transfer and packing of equipment to be assembled for disinfection or sterilization.
Disinfection, described as the destruction of all existing microorganisms, sans absolutely killing all bacterial spores. It basically puts the dwelling bacteria in a dormant state that can withstand strenuous conditions. Anthrax and tetanus are some kind of bacterial spores that are very dangerous, and we need to sterilize to kill all sorts of microorganisms, including these two. Usually, the hospital rooms are being disinfected with various chemicals. In contrast, the highly infectious medical equipment such as bedpans and urinals are put inside an automatic washer machine that comes in contact with bodily fluids and feces. And lastly, these equipment are sent for sterilization.
Once the equipment is done with the processes of cleaning and disinfection, it is ready for the last and most rigorous process of germ eradication; sterilization. This process kills all microorganisms, including bacterial spores. The WHO (World Health Organization) suggests that it is vital to sterilize all instruments which come in contact with fluids inside the body before using them (ibid.). Even though open-flaming is known as the oldest method of sterilization, where the item is held over an open flame to kill germs, the modern era has, of course, come up with more advanced and scientific techniques of sterilization such as moist heat, dry heat, biocide by gas or chemicals, and radiation.
In the present scenario, a specialized machine called autoclave is used to kill all microorganisms through pressurized high-temperature steam. It is prepared similar to the model of a pressure-cooker. They are available in various sizes, from small tabletop microwave oven-sized machines to large hospital elevator-sized machines. Modern autoclaves mostly run multiple cycles for different types of equipment and materials following the needs of the hospital.
Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD) / or Sterile Processing Department (SPD) needs to be mandatorily present in every hospital to ensure proper cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization. And every hospital has to follow some specific guidelines for the whole process of sterilization; how instruments must be packaged and handled before and after sterilizing to ensure that the items not re-contaminated. And each hospital’s CSSD works rigorously to ensure that once equipment emerges from the autoclave, stay sterile until opened in the operating room.
To sum up, the sterilization room basically prevents SSI (Surgical Site Infection), which is the second most cause of nosocomial infections, and the complications thereof often cause morbidity. The source of SSI may be endogenous and exogenous. The CSSD deals with the never-ending battle against the spread of infection take in the hospital every moment. We ensure our patient’s safety from germs and contamination. Hence we invest in our technicians who suited up in their gear of scrubs, discardable gloves, caps, and masks, to carry out their first step fighting against the germs; ‘cleaning,’ which kills the microorganisms with pure soap and water. Then comes the second step, ‘disinfection,’ which eradicates all vegetative organisms. And last but not least, the process of ‘sterilization.’ During the process of sterilization, in autoclave machine, every last bit of microorganism, including the stubborn bacterial spore, gets extinguished. The CSSD technician carefully stores the package of newly sterilized tools until they are needed for the next surgery in the hospital.
When you visit Dr. Mohamed Ali, San Francisco, he will thoroughly assess your mouth and will present different options for your treatment as needed. He will also advise you on the option best suited for your needs. The billing experts will inspect your insurance benefits and will offer you a complete treatment plan with all the necessary arrangements. Every major dental and medical PPO insurance plans are accepted, including Medicare. There is also an in-office Plan for Health for those who don’t have any insurance. Also, we have partnered with various financial institutions like The Lending Club, Care Credit, Healthcare Finance Solutions to make your treatment extremely affordable. If you have any questions feel free to ask. So sit, relax, and get a germ free treatment. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. You can reach us at 415.391.7751.