Guideline Implementation: Manual Chemical High-Level Disinfection

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Volume 108, Issue 4 - October 2018
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The Spaulding system recommends sterilization or, at minimum, high-level disinfection for semicritical medical items (ie, items that come into contact with mucous membranes or nonintact skin). High-level disinfection deactivates all types of microorganisms except bacterial spores and prions. If high-level disinfection is not performed correctly, however, contaminated medical or surgical devices could transmit pathogens to patients. Reusable semicritical items may be processed using manual methods when manual chemical high-level disinfection is the only processing method recommended by the manufacturer. The AORN “Guideline for manual chemical high-level disinfection” provides guidance to health care personnel for performing effective manual chemical high-level disinfection and preventing injury associated with the use of high-level disinfectant chemicals. This article focuses on key points of the guideline that address preparation of items for high-level disinfection, use of high-level disinfectants, health care personnel safety, and documentation. Perioperative RNs should review the complete guideline for additional information and for guidance when writing and updating policies and procedures.

Key words: high-level disinfection, high-level disinfectant, semicritical items, Spaulding classification, ultrasound probes.