Decontamination of medical devices

  • medicines and healthcare product regulatory agencyOnly reprocess reusable devices.
    Do not reprocess devices designated for single use only.
  • Reusable medical devices should be decontaminated in a sterile services department (SSD). They have the facilities and expertise to ensure that they are properly decontaminated.
  • If you have to decontaminate devices locally, use an automated process whenever possible.
  • If an automated process is not available, devices may be cleaned manually. This should be done away from the clinical area

Manual decontamination

  •     Staff must be properly trained and supervised.
  •     Wear gloves, personal protective clothing and eye protection.
  •     Use dedicated equipment / receptacles – do not use the hand wash basin for manual cleaning
  •     Follow the instructions provided by the device manufacturer, including:
    • choice, use and compatibility of decontaminants
    • dismantling and reassembly of instruments.
  • Ensure that water used is of a suitable quality and at the correct temperature – ask your microbiologist or SSD manager for advice.
  • Avoid splashing and the generation of aerosols.
  • Ensure that sterilisers, were applicable, are properly sited, maintained and used.

Advice on best practice for manual cleaning is provided in ‘Sterilization, Disinfection & Cleaning of Medical Equipment: Guidance on Decontamination from the Microbiology Advisory Committee to Department of Health, Medical Devices Agency’.

This information is taken from the Department of Health.