Background In the Local Health Authority of Reggio Emilia, we have been using the ‘Local handbook of antiseptics and disinfectants’ for several years; it provides guidance and recommendations about the use of various products for antisepsis and disinfection. We decided to increase control around this matter to make them safer for users and patients and improve resource management.
– To reduce the number of products in order to reduce the likelihood of errors by users
– To use the products appropriately in all situations in any clinical setting
– To identify the most suitable product in terms of the shape (e.g. bottle or single-dose packaging) and size of the bottles (e.g. 20 ml, 500 ml, 1,000 ml) in order to reduce the risk of contamination of the product and to reduce the amount of product discarded after opening
– To reduce costs.
Materials and methods We examined the kinds of disinfectants and antiseptics that were used in each operating unit in the last year and then we examined how many products were used. Then, we asked head nurses why they used their particular protocol for disinfection and antisepsis. Subsequently, we selected the best products and protocols; then we shared this information with nurses in all hospitals, the Departments of Primary Care, and the Mental Health Department of the Local Health Authority of Reggio Emilia.
Results We produced 13 short handbooks, one for each operating unit.
In the handbooks we described the most common procedures (e.g. antiseptic hand wash, patient skin antisepsis, disinfection of non-critical medical devices, disinfection of environments and surfaces), the appropriate product for each procedure and comments, when it was necessary (for example ‘use povidone-iodine solution for skin antisepsis in patients with allergy to chlorhexidine’).
The ‘Local handbook of antiseptics and disinfectants’, the short handbooks and the safety data sheet and technical data sheet of all products are available on the website of the Local Health Authority of Reggio Emilia.
The short handbooks will be updated according to new products we purchase.
Conclusions The project was coordinated jointly by the Department of Pharmacy, Hospital Infections Committee and Risk Managers.
It was very important to reduce the number of products to reduce the likelihood of errors and to save money without reducing product quality.
No conflict of interest.
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