Decontamination: The Journey – David Gibson

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  Posted by: Dental Design      4th December 2017

David Gibson, Eschmann’s Marketing Manager reviews the main areas of consideration when redesigning a decontamination room or area.

When it comes to infection control and prevention the journey is just as, if not more important than the destination itself. How you choose to get there – in other words how you ensure complete compliance – is ultimately up to you, but there are a few things you should know if you want your expedition to go as smoothly as possible.

First off, don’t underestimate the importance of meticulous planning and preparation. If you were arranging a trip you wouldn’t leave your transport until the last minute, would you? Nor would you choose to go the long way round or walk instead of taking the car, so why wouldn’t you plan your decontamination room or area to the letter?

That’s not to say that there aren’t limitations when setting up a dental practice, especially if the surgeries are located within converted domestic buildings with often significant logistical constraints. Nevertheless, if there is an opportunity to redesign or plan to the ideal gold standard of a two-room approach it should be made the most of. Not just for practicality purposes, though there can be no doubt that the two-room layout can help to streamline workflow and improve efficiency, but because this degree of separation helps reduce the risk of cross-contamination to the lowest level. Quite simply, it is the most reliable and thorough setup – one that illustrates a true commitment to health and safety.

Where a dedicated side-by-side two-room solution of one ‘clean’ and one ‘dirty’ isn’t feasible there are two alternative options: single room decontamination or an in-surgery solution. Of these, the use of a single dedicated room always ranks as the preferred option, though it is crucial that a thorough flow strategy from dirty to clean is implemented at all times by all members of the team. Altogether, there are a lot of aspects to take on board, but just like there are maps and train journey planners to help you organise the best route for your travels, there are suggestions on how best to design each layout available within the HTM 01-05 document.

However you choose to do it, there are a number of elements that you should incorporate into the design to minimise cross contamination. These key design points are:

• Designate an area of benching to be used exclusively to receive contaminated instruments.
• Install the washer disinfector and/or washing and rinsing sinks or separate bowls within a single sink unit adjacent to the receiving area.
• Where an ultrasonic cleaner is used have it installed adjacent to the rinsing sink/bowl but separated from the receiving area.
• Have separate cabinetry with good lighting to be used when inspecting instruments.
• Segregate the steriliser from all other facilities.
• Provide wash-hand basins for staff to use at the completion of each of the decontamination processes.
• Separate the input door in the dirty area and the area used to empty the clean instruments by a barrier if a double-ended washer disinfector is in use, or build it directly into the separating wall between the dirty and clean areas.

For obvious reasons, the equipment that you choose will have a significant impact on infection prevention and control management, so it is wise to consider your options carefully before making a decision. For cleaning there are three suggested methods of washer disinfector, manual combined with ultrasonic cleaning or manual, but to guarantee that all proteins and contaminants are removed prior to sterilisation a washer disinfector is the best choice. Again, think of it like planning a weekend away – if you had the choice of walking, getting the train or driving a car directly to your destination, you would always opt for what is the most convenient, straightforward and effective option, so be sure to do the same with your decontamination equipment. There is also your steriliser to think about as well as a handpiece cleaner to assist with lubrication in addition to cleaning and maintenance.

Once installed, it’s up to you to keep on top of maintenance, servicing, testing and validation, just as you would with your car, to ensure that all equipment is working efficiently. Only then can you achieve complete compliance. At Eschmann, we offer Care&Cover protection alongside our leading Little Sister decontamination equipment to take care of all these aspects, leaving you to focus on improving your workflow and delivering quality patient care.

The journey to achieving and maintaining compliance is a long road, but with stringent infection control measures and top quality equipment you can ensure that patients and staff alike are protected against dangerous pathogens.

For more information on the highly effective and affordable range of decontamination equipment and products from EschmannDirect, please visit or call 01903 753322

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