Central Sterile Processing Infection Prevention

Central sterile processing (CSP) has gained intense notoriety and publicity due to the ongoing transmission of organisms, including highly resistant bacteria from endoscopes used to diagnose gastrointestinal conditions. In particular, scopes used to enter the biliary tract, including the pancreas, have been a noted source of concern. These scopes, known as duodenoscopes, have recently been implicated in major outbreaks with resultant death due to a group of highly resistant, lethal bacteria known as Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Manufacturers of these scopes have had to address reprocessing issues expediently in response to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rulings.

The sterile processing department (SPD), also referred to as central sterile services (CSS) is responsible for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing items that come into contact with mucous membrane and/or sterile tissue as well as the vascular system. Prevention of surgical site infections depends heavily on effective processes within the central sterile department (CSD) as they strive to keep patients undergoing procedures, safe and free of infection. The SPD is responsible for all instruments, devices and items that are classified as semi-critical or critical, according to the Spaulding Classification.

Accreditation agencies state health departments and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are focusing heavily on processes related to surgery and gastrointestinal procedures. As a result, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are being scrutinized very closely during surveys.

In addition, several states now mandate that central sterile technicians (CST) or central sterile supply department (CSSD) technicians undergo a specific certification to meet the requirements of effective reprocessing.

ICCS, an infection control and prevention industry leader, specializes in guiding hospitals and ASCs with respect to their sterile processing procedures. The ICCS team has several years of experience in mastering the steps for pre-cleaning, high-level disinfection, sterilization, monitoring of processes, environmental monitoring in the SPD arena and much more.

While every effort is made by facilities to ensure 100% compliance, ICCS has discovered that very often, one small step may be omitted, which could be potentially devastating to the process and subject the facility to immediate jeopardy situations during a survey. The ICCS team of experts provides onsite visits, policy and procedure review, and a detailed report after a visit, highlighting findings and providing suggestions for improvement. ICCS works hard to ensure your facility is up to date with rules and guidelines for reprocessing of instruments and scopes, and the monitoring of these processes.

If your facility has recently undergone a survey that identified CPS or other deficiencies, contact ICCS to learn about our services for putting together a Plan of Correction.