5 - Safe management of care equipment

Care equipment is easily contaminated with blood, other body fluids, secretions, excretions and infectious agents and this can spread infection.

Important words and what they mean

Routine cleaning is regular cleaning which is carried out on a scheduled basis, not on an unplanned basis and not in response to an outbreak.

Cleaning is the removal of any dirt by use of an appropriate cleaning agent such as detergent.

Decontamination is removing, or killing pathogens on an item or surface to make it safe for handling, re-use or disposal, by cleaning, disinfection and/or sterilisation.

Disinfectant is a chemical used to reduce the number of infectious agents from an object or surface to a level that means they are not harmful to health.

Detergent is a chemical cleansing agent that can dissolve oils and remove dirt.

For routine cleaning general purpose detergent and water solution or detergent impregnated wipes are sufficient.

If the resident has a known infection or the equipment is contaminated with blood or body fluids, then a disinfection agent needs to be used.

Do not use household bleach as the required dilution cannot be guaranteed.

Do not use refillable spray container for cleaning products as there is a risk of contamination. 

Cleaning products which come in non-refillable spray containers may be used as long as they conform to EN standards.

What you need for safe management of care equipment

  • Cleaning/disinfectant products:
    • general purpose detergent and water solution/detergent impregnated wipes;

or

    • combined detergent/disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine (ppm available chlorine (av.cl.);

or

    • a general purpose neutral detergent in a solution of warm water followed by disinfection solution of 1,000ppm av.cl.
  • Paper towels/disposable cloths.

Types of equipment

There are three different types of care equipment that you will use in your care home and it is important that you know how to deal with each type.

You must use and follow manufacturers guidance for all equipment and products you use including those used for cleaning and decontamination.

Before using any sterile equipment, you should check that:

1. Single-use - equipment which is used once on a single resident and then discarded.

Single-use equipment must never be reused even on the same resident. The packaging carries the symbol.

The single use symbol shows a number 2 in a circle and is scored out indicating that the item is single use

Needles and syringes are single-use devices. They shoulimage of a syringe with a needled never be used for more than one resident or reused to draw up additional medication.

Never give medications from a single-dose vial or intravenous (IV) bag to multiple residents.

 

2. Single individual use – equipment which can be reused by same resident e.g. nebuliser equipment and decontaminated following use as per manufacturers instructions.

3. Reusable non-invasive equipment (often referred to as ‘communal equipment’) – equipment which can be reused on more than one resident following decontamination between each use e.g. commode, moving and handling equipment or bath hoist.

Cleaning or decontaminating reusable non-invasive equipment

Residents should be given their own reusable (communal) non-invasive equipment if possible.  

Reusable equipment should be checked frequently for cleanliness and signs of integrity. This will include mattresses and pillows which should be clean, have a waterproof covering which is in a good state of repair. 

You should clean or decontaminate reusable equipment:  

between individual use;Photo of a commode

after blood and/or body fluid contamination;

as part of the regular scheduled cleaning process;

before inspection, servicing or repair.

 

Staff must:

follow the local cleaning protocol/schedule which should include responsibility for; frequency of; and method of decontamination required;

use a general purpose detergent and water solution/detergent impregnated wipes;

or

a combined detergent/disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine (ppm available chlorine (av.cl.);

or

a general purpose neutral detergent in a solution of warm water followed by disinfection solution of 1,000ppm av.cl;

make up cleaning/disinfection solution following manufacturers guidance;

follow the manufacturer’s contact time for the cleaning/disinfection solution;

rinse and dry reusable equipment then store it clean and dry.

 

When an organisation uses cleaning and disinfectant products that differ from those stated in this CH IPCM these products need to meet BS EN standards. 

This means that the product has passed tests and is shown to reduce different viruses, bacteria, funguses, yeasts and spores. If you do not use an BS EN standard product you have no assurance that it will work effectively.

Manufacturers instruction and recommended contact times must be adhered to.

BS EN standards and what they mean

  • BS EN 13727 - quantitative test used to evaluate bactericidal activity of disinfectants intended for use in the MEDICAL area (e.g. surface disinfection, surgical and hygienic handrub and handwash). Products must achieve ≥ 5 log reduction (must kill 99.999%) against P. aeruginosa, S. aureus and E. hirae.
  • BS EN 14476 – quantitative test used to evaluate virucidal activity of disinfectants intended for use in the medical area. For surface disinfection, products must achieve ≥ 4 log reduction against Adenovirus, Norovirus and Poliovirus.
  • BS EN 13624 – quantitative test used to evaluate fungicidal and yeasticidal activities of disinfectants intended for use in the medical area. For surface disinfection, products must achieve ≥ 4 log reduction against A. brasiliensis, C albicans.
  • BS EN 17126 – quantitative test used to evaluate sporicidal activity of disinfectants in the medical area. For surface disinfection, products must achieve ≥ 4 log reduction against bacterial spores. (Used for C. diff). BS EN 13704 has also been used to test products against C. diff.

 

Read the management of care equipment literature review to find out more about why we do things this way for care equipment.

 

The decontamination of non-invasive care equipment poster can help staff decide how to clean equipment.

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