Infection prevention and control guidelines

4. Aseptic technique

Overview – Aseptic technique

      1. Overview – Aseptic technique

Last revised: 17 Jun 2024

Overview – Aseptic technique

Standard aseptic technique refers to work practices used by health professionals and other members of the practice team to minimise the risk of introducing and transmitting infection during clinical procedures.

Standard aseptic technique is used for treatment and dressing of wounds (such as lacerations and ulcers), minor invasive procedures (such as biopsy of skin lesions, hormonal implants, skin scrapings, and suture removal), and venipuncture.

All staff involved in procedures must be familiar with standard aseptic technique and know when to apply it.

Surgical aseptic technique refers to work practices that result in prevention or minimisation of microorganisms entering sterile body areas (eg skin lesion excision, wound suturing).

Aseptic technique involves applying the correct pre-agreed protocols before, during and after a procedure.

Before a procedure:

  • assess the risk of infection transmission, including susceptibility of patient, and determine appropriate infection prevention and control protocols. Secure the area as required for the level of aseptic technique (eg ensure other staff or patients do not inappropriately enter the treatment area)
  • ensure equipment and receptacles (eg sharps container, pathology collection containers) are ready for use
  • perform hand hygiene appropriate to the type of procedure (standard or surgical)
  • select personal protective equipment appropriate to the type of procedure (sterile or non-sterile gloves, gown, eye protection)
  • ensure appropriate decontamination of equipment and patient’s skin.

During the procedure, establish and maintain an aseptic field.

After the procedure, follow protocols for removing personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, and appropriate disposal or cleaning of other equipment according to whether it is reusable or single-use and disposable. Also consider the disposal of clinical waste (including sharps) and general waste, and cleaning of environmental surfaces.