The use of wipes for decontamination of healthcare equipment, the implications of wipe-surface incompatibility and possible causes for environmental stress cracking of healthcare equipment

Karen Dawn Wares1

1Deputy Clinical Director, GAMA Healthcare

Recently, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued a Medical Devices Safety Update on the use of Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QAC) based disinfectants on plastic surfaces within the healthcare environment. QACs are a popular

choice for healthcare disinfectants because of their ability to also act as detergents; this allows manufacturers to formulate products that clean and disinfect in one step – vital for improving staff compliance and ensuring Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) policies are carried out. Similar issues regarding compatibility and practice were also reported in the UK in 2013 by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

Your wipe selection is just as important as the healthcare equipment you have chosen; infection prevention efforts and patient safety may be compromised if both are not considered in conjunction. The Medical Device Directive and the TGA requirements stipulate that the onus is on the equipment manufacturer to provide a validated cleaning/disinfection program for their reusable surface. Whilst some manufacturers of healthcare equipment are addressing these issues, compatibility data – particularly for domestic surfaces – remains lacking. Ultimately, both manufacturers of wipes and of equipment used in healthcare settings should have a shared vision: to provide healthcare professionals with the products and equipment that are fit for purpose in terms of functionality and ability to be effectively decontaminated to protect patients.

This talk will address the use of wipes for decontamination of healthcare equipment, the implications of wipe-surface incompatibility and possible causes for environmental stress cracking of healthcare equipment.


Biography:

Karen is a Senior Associate Lecturer at the Robert Gordon University; she is also the Deputy Clinical Director of GAMA Healthcare. She is a former Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Consultant and Healthcare Associated Infection Education Lead having worked clinically in different roles in the field of infection prevention within NHS Grampian for 13 years. She has a Master’s Degrees in Nursing (University of Aberdeen) and Infection Control (University of Highlands & Islands).  Karen is the current Infection Prevention Society Scientific Programme Committee Coordinator and an active Board member.  She is actively engaged across a wide remit of infection prevention and control groups and is particularly interested in education, environmental hygiene and quality improvement.