Yes, the famous saying from Ben Franklin starts off this week's Healthmarket Digest. Over the last few weeks I have been able to visit a variety of departments and this quote holds true within all departments that do cleaning. Many of them have not developed a well defined process for a vital piece of cleaning equipment: the cart washer. What made me think of this saying, especially the Cart Washer in particular, is because there are so many departments and staff that do not understand how vital this piece of equipment is to their department. They have not developed or defined any type of an audit system for this piece of equipment. What I've seen in the past few weeks include clogged drains and screens, clogged spray arms, tilt system not working and calcium stains all along the interior walls and staff selecting the wrong cycles. My observations have led me to believe that many of the items being processed are not receiving proper cleaning and disinfection. It seems to me staff just puts an item in the cart washer pushes a button and think it magically gets cleaned. I see full sets of instruments being placed in the cart washer (instruments not even being exposed properly to the process) and then going right to assembly. Why is this piece of equipment being overlooked? I can say this that departments are testing instrument washers and sonic cleaners more which is good but they are forgetting about the cart washer. This overlooked piece of equipment needs regular attention and verification of the key parameters. For over 5 years departments have had the ability to verify many of the basic functions of a cart washer but have elected not to. I am sure Ben Franklin would support verifying this vital piece of medical equipment because he felt an "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I guess the question each SPD professional must ask themselves, "what are we doing to ensure our cart washer is performing properly. What type of prevention are we doing?" I just felt that this issue needed to be addressed because of the neglect I have seen.


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