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FEATURE


care providers, we can forget about the importance of cleaning the envi- ronment, such as tabletops, stretcher rails and doorknobs, because we are focused on patients and their bodies rather than these external surfaces.” When environmental hygiene is


overlooked, says Terri Gatton RN, CASC, administrator of the Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center in Gulf Breeze, Florida, it can create significant challenges for an ASC. “It can be a source for an infection that skews outcomes. It also can take sig- nificant time and resources to deter- mine the source of the infection.” Until the problem is identified and addressed, she adds, the well-being of other patients could be jeopardized.


Improve Outcomes Through Environmental Hygiene


Follow the rules, educate staff and create checklists BY ROBERT KURTZ


M


onths. That is how long the likes of Clostridium difficile,


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin-resistant Entero- coccus and many other harmful patho- gens can survive on surfaces within an ASC. How can an ASC keep its patients safe?


Through rigorous adherence to the highest standards of environ- mental hygiene, says Lisa Berus, RN, CAIP, director of diligence and integration for Surgical Care Affili- ates in Deerfield, Illinois. “If we do not clean and disinfect the surfaces in these areas, we can easily transmit all sorts of infections.”


Despite good intentions, envi- ronmental hygiene might not always


ATTEND ASCA 2020 WINTER SEMINAR TO LEARN MORE


Lisa Berus, RN,CAIP, will present “Environmental Hygiene Infection Prevention Strategies” on Saturday, January 18, from 9:35am–10:50am. Learn more and see the complete schedule on the ASCA 2020 Winter Seminar website.


ascassociation.org/ winterseminar/schedule


receive the attention it requires, says Laurie Roderiques, RN, CAIP, CASC, director of clinical services for Ambulatory Healthcare Strategies in Rochester, New York. “As health-


14 ASC FOCUS SEPTEMBER 2019 | ascfocus.org


Follow the Rules Maintaining environmental hygiene in patient areas requires careful com- pletion of multiple cleaning and dis- infection processes, Berus says. “These processes must be done prop- erly and consistently, and nothing must ever be missed.” The cleaning of operating rooms (ORs), for example, should occur at the beginning of the day and then between cases, Berus says. “Those tasked with cleaning responsibilities must know what high-touch items and areas need to be cleaned between every case and what requires less fre- quent, albeit still consistent, cleaning. Organizations like the Association for peri-Operative Registered Nurses provide guidance on what surfaces deserve what level of attention.” Also imperative to success- ful cleaning and disinfection is the appropriate selection and use of cleaning products, Roderiques says. “Staff should only use the cleaning products chosen by their organiza- tion and make sure the right product is used on the right surface.”


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