How Does your Durable Medical Equipment (DME) ensure your equipment is cleaned and disinfected?
Questions to ask your contracted DME provider:
Are you accredited by a nationally recognized accredited body such as Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation (HQAA)?
- DMEs are not mandated to be accredited. However, some seek this out as this holds them to a higher standard to not only meet basic guidelines but to exceed them for their patients and customers. The nature of accreditation is that a company embraces a continuous quality improvement methodology and operates its business in compliance with laws, regulations, and industry best practices to the best of its ability.
- HQAA requires that you follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning without and accreditation process for oversight, how can you ensure your DME is properly cleaning their equipment.
Ask to see a copy of their Infection Control Process:
Here are a few things to look for once obtained:
- Do they have a fully equipped, fully staffed facility/ warehouse to clean equipment properly?
- Their cleaning process should meet and exceed the cleaning and disinfection guidelines of the CDC and this should be stated in their P&P.
- Ask how their DME employees are trained on the DMEs exact cleaning process.
- Is appropriate equipment fully disassembled prior to cleaning to ensure thorough and proper cleaning?
- Do they require documentation with date and initials of who assessed the cleanliness of the equipment and who cleaned the equipment?
- Do they have a detailed P&P for their warehouses defining proper placement in the warehouse of clean vs dirty equipment? As well as specific instructions so as not to cross-contaminate dirty equipment with clean equipment?
What chemical they use to clean and the chemical they use to disinfect?
This is a 2-step process. You must 1st clean and 2nd disinfect. Here are a few things to ask regarding the chemicals they are using:
- What type of cleaning product are they using?
- What type of disinfectant are they using?
- It should be at least an intermediate level disinfectant or registered as a tuberculocide by the EPA. HQAA Accreditation requires this as this is a CDC guideline. It’s important to note that a ‘Quat’ is a low level disinfectant and unfortunately the most commonly used disinfectant which renders it less effective than mandated by CDC.
- Ask to see the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or disinfectant label and compare it to the requirements mentioned above.
- Pay close attention to the dwell time of the disinfectant. Ask questions to see if they know what that is. Dwell time is how long a disinfectant needs to stay “wet” to allow it time to kill all pathogens the disinfectant claims to kill.
- Ask: ‘What is the dwell time of your DMEs disinfectant?’ If they do not know, they likely are not disinfecting properly.
- Make sure the Disinfectant is on the EPA’s list N:
Ask what application device is used to disinfect equipment:
- Traditional spraying and wiping is no longer best practice for disinfecting. Spraying and wiping produces cross-contamination and human error (there is no way to physically touch/wipe all 3-D areas of the equipment).
- Many leading SNFs use the EMist disinfectant sprayers. Learn more here.