Medical offices are held to a higher standard than other businesses with regard to office and equipment sterilization– and rightfully so. In order to create a safe and comfortable environment for patients, it’s essential to have a sterile medical office. However, with a heavy traffic flow or never-ending workload, this may be a challenge. The following 5 practices will help you keep up with the patient demands all while maintaining a sterile medical office.
Use the Correct Hospital-Grade Cleaners and Disinfectants
The traffic flow of a medical office often consists of sick patients; therefore, they bring a higher amount of bacteria and germs that are spread. For this reason, cleaners and disinfectants that are normal or standard are not sufficient to adequately sterilize a medical office.
Hospital-grade sterilizing cleaners, especially ones that are approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are a primal example of the quality that is necessary.
Additionally, it’s vital that the person or people using these types of sanitization techniques know how to use the hospital-grade cleaners. Whether that be professional cleaners experienced in healthcare cleaning or the medical office staff, make sure they have professional training for using these types of chemicals. Misuse will cause failure to sterilize properly, and could potentially cause damage or harm to the building and the patients that come to be treated.
Frequently Sterilize Medical Devices Using Correct Methods
Sterilizing and sanitizing medical devices is not a task for just anyone. It takes a hospital worker who has been trained by a professional in the medical field. This is an invaluable practice so much so that failure to do so or a poor job can cause serious risks to patients and workers.
There are several factors that need to be considered while sterilizing medical devices, including:
- Location of where medical devices are being sterilized
- Chemicals and disinfecting agents being used
- The actual cleaning process of medical equipment
- Temperature of medical devices
- Storage of medical equipment after the decontamination process
For additional information on how to sterilize medical devices, the FDA goes into more depth about how to do so and the typical sanitizing process.
Properly Dispose of Hazardous Material
For a medical office, there is a higher likelihood that hazardous material and waste will be present, therefore disposing of it is perhaps one of the most crucial and urgent practices. Having trained employees correctly do this while wearing gloves and other protective equipment is a necessity.
According to the OHSA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), there is a general method to dispose of hazardous material. This includes:
- Putting hazardous material in a labeled bag or container
- Making sure the container is closable and properly sealed to prevent leakage or a spill
- Labeling what it is and sending it to the correct location for disposal
This method does not include sharps (which is considered anything that breaks the skin). Sharps have their own separate container for decontamination and disposal.
Make Sure Frequently Touched Areas Are Disinfected
A medical office, like any commercial space, has people coming in and out to receive help (or treatment). Commonly touched surfaces and areas need to be disinfected often to prevent further spread of germs. Some of these areas include:
- The waiting room chairs and tables
- The check-in desk
- Doorknobs and light switches
- Computer Screens
- Any other exposed surfaces
Patients will notice whether or not a surface or chair looks clean and sterilized. Demonstrating cleanliness in common areas is not only a necessity, but it will also instill trust in the professionals the patients are choosing to see.
With that being said, having the correct disinfectants (as discussed above) and sanitizing as often as possible creates a very sterile medical office.
Eliminate Dust By Sanitizing Dusty Areas Often
Dust frequently accumulates in high-reaching or hard-to-get locations. Although it may be difficult to dust and disinfect the places that are tough to access, it makes a difference for patients and workers. Plus, there is a higher amount of people coming into a medical office that will be more affected by dust and lesser air quality. When we breathe in dust, it will enter into our system, which is not helpful for the body. Especially for patients who have a weaker immune system or are more prone to illness.
Additionally, dust can even accumulate in areas you wouldn’t think of. Some examples include under the furniture, within linens (such as curtains), or on the carpets. Keeping up with basic cleaning practices such as vacuuming or washing linens regularly will also help mitigate dust and create a sterile medical office.
Maintaining a sterile medical office is a requirement that, if adhered to, is better for patients and employees. This can be done through using the correct disinfectants and sanitizers and correctly sterilizing medical equipment. Other practices such as properly disposing of hazardous materials, regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and dusting often are also helpful. These essential cleaning practices will allow your medical office to stay sterile and safe.
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