Infection prevention and control guidelines

10. Reprocessing reusable medical devices

Documenting reprocessing including steriliser cycles

      1. Documenting reprocessing including steriliser cycles

Documenting reprocessing including steriliser cycles

Logbooks are required when using washer-disinfectors or sterilisers.

Types of logbooks

Practices may develop their own logbook, use templates provided by RACGP or other organisations, or use commercially available logbooks. The log can incorporate tracking functions.

There are links to examples of logbooks in the resources section.

Logbooks must be retained with the records of validation and maintenance details. These are treated as medical records and retained for the required period in accordance with state/territory regulations. Retain records for at least seven years from last entry. This period is in line with specific legislation relating to medical records and health information in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Information required for steriliser logs

For every cycle, record the following information in the steriliser logbook:

  • date
  • steriliser identity (if the practice has more than one steriliser)
  • load number
  • load contents
  • name of the person who prepared the load
  • results of the cycle monitoring (pass/fail) – See Monitoring the sterilisation cycle
  • confirmation of change in Class 1 chemical indicators
  • results of any other indicators used (eg chemical or biological)
  • condition of the sterile barrier systems (ie dry, seals intact and no damage)
  • signature of the person releasing or rejecting the load
  • comments on any faults/fails identified and the corrective action that was taken.

The printout of the cycle can be attached to the logbook and verified as correct in the logbook. If a data logger is used, verify in the logbook that the data logger recording was viewed and the cycle met required parameters.

In larger practices where more than one person is responsible for reprocessing reusable medical devices, the identity (eg initials) of the staff member who performed each stage of the process should be logged to enable follow-up.

On completion of each sterilisation cycle, the staff member responsible for releasing the load should:

  • view the process record (printout/data logger/onscreen digital display chart) to verify that the time, temperature and pressure parameters were correct for the load contents in accordance with the validated specification
  • record that they have completed this check, with their name or initials to enable later identification of the staff member who released the load.

Printouts should be checked for legibility as well as verification of correct parameters, then signed or initialled before filing.

Any variation from the normal parameters should be reported immediately to a supervisor, and the load should not be released. The discrepancy must be recorded and corrective action taken.

Note: Older sterilisers without process recorders need to be upgraded or replaced to ensure automatic monitoring of cycle parameters.

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