After taking a break during the holidays, I am finally getting back to writing entries for the blog and there is no shortage of information! But first let me say I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and are now back at work, safe and healthy.
The news across my desk today is about the hazards associated with cleaning electronic equipment such as infusion pumps. I would encourage you to click here to read more. This public health notification was issued jointly from numerous governmental organizations. The FDA is involved with safety of the electronic equipment; the CDC's concern is reducing the spread of infection; the EPA governs the use of cleaners and disinfectants; and OSHA's focus is the safety of healthcare workers. As you can tell the simple act of cleaning an infusion pump could get complicated.
The bottom line is to follow the instructions from the pump manufacturer **and** the disinfectant manufacturer. Reported problems include equipment malfunction, fires, and burns to healthcare workers. Most infusion pump manufacturers state to wipe the equipment with a soft cloth dampened with a mild detergent, yet many times the equipment is sprayed with liquid disinfectant. The liquid penetrates the housing to contact the electrical circuitry.
This advisory goes on to include recommendations for protecting the equipment from blood and other potentially hazardous body fluid. Certainly there is a chance that infusion pumps will come into contact with these body fluids, but in my experience the greatest problem with infusion pumps is the IV fluids that leak onto and into the system. As you know, dextrose can easily support the growth of microorganisms, thus creating the risk of contaminating the patient after touching the pump. Obviously preventing any and all IV fluids from leaking onto the pump would be ideal, but not always possible. This creates a high priority for proper and safe cleaning.