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Focus on Sterilization and High-Level Disinfection in a Healing Environment

By Erica Stewart, CIH, HEM and Janet Brown
Healthcare Design Magazine

Striving to provide quality care in a healing environment, healthcare facilities are taking a closer look at methods of sterilization and high-level disinfection for reusable medical equipment. Prevalent practices, including the use of ethylene oxide and glutaraldehyde, are not without safety and environmental impacts. Factoring in expensive and often incompatible instruments, quick turnaround needs and regulatory compliance, there's no simple solution to sterilization and high-level disinfection. How can we balance infection control requirements with a healing environment?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthcare-acquired nosocomial infections account for 70,000 annual deaths. While sterilization is done in a facility's Sterile Processing Department, high-level disinfection can occur many places throughout a facility.

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