SGNA Releases New and Revised Infection Prevention Practice Documents

By on 6:32 AM

The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) has released new and revised infection prevention-focused practice documents.

SGNA's revised "Standards of Infection Prevention in Reprocessing of Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopes" is intended to address factors that must be followed to ensure safe and effective GI endoscope reprocessing. It focuses on highlighting the expectations of reprocessing staff and management responsibilities, the reprocessing environment, the steps in reprocessing and rationale for their use, and quality assurance. As Infection Control Today (ICT) notes, the revised standards introduce nine steps in the reprocessing cycle instead of the previous eight and new details on storage. 

The revised standards were issued following reports of facilities struggling with cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of medical devices, particularly duodenoscopes, and drug-resistant infection outbreaks. Several deaths have occurred as a result of highly resistant bacteria that were transmitted from patient to patient, primarily during endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERCP). Note: For more information, read this Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS) special report on medical device reprocessing.

The document summary includes the following statement: "Reprocessing of flexible gastrointestinal endoscopes according to the manufacturer's instructions and professional guidelines is critical to patient and staff safety. Understanding the reprocessing continuum from procedure room to storage is imperative. Diligence in the application of all reprocessing steps remains paramount in the safe delivery of endoscopic services."

SGNA's newly released "Standard of Infection Prevention in the Gastroenterology Setting" is intended to complement the "Standards of Infection Prevention in Reprocessing of Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopes." As ICT notes, the new document details safety considerations for both patients and staff members. Infection prevention measures discussed include hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, bloodborne pathogens, communication devices in the GI lab, quality assurance of endoscope reprocessing, culture of safety, infection prevention champions and competency.

The document summary includes the following statement: "Ensuring infection prevention in the endoscopy setting requires a multi-factorial approach. Meticulous cleaning and adherence to reprocessing guidelines is key to disrupting potential contamination by pathogens. Ongoing competencies and staff engagement is essential in creating best practices and maintaining a safe environment for all personnel and patients."

ICCS has seen an increase in the number of ambulatory surgery centers, GI centers and hospitals reaching out for assistance with assessing "best practices" for infection prevention in the endoscopy setting. ICCS, a leading provider of education for infection prevention, delivers a wide range of infection prevention services, including development of onsite risk assessment for infection prevention with detailed reports of findings and suggestions for improvement. In addition, accreditation survey preparation according to the expectations of AAAHC, The Joint Commission and CMS is the forte of ICCS.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.