|Title:||Reprocessing of Infant Feeding Equipment in Health Care Facilities|
|Document ID:||Operational Circular OP 1739/04|
|Date of issue:||Thursday, 15 January 2004|
|Status:||NO LONGER APPLICABLE|
|Description:||The purpose of this document is to provide health care workers with recommended best practice guidelines for the cleaning and disinfection/sterilisation of infant feeding equipment.|
|Applicable to:||All health services|
|Period of effect:||from 15 January 2004|
|Authorised by:||Dr Gary Dowse, Acting Director, Communicable Disease Control Directorate, 07-Jan-2004|
|Print version:||View print version|
Reprocessing of Infant Feeding Equipment in Health Care Facilities
The purpose of this document is to provide heath care workers (HCW) with recommended best practice guidelines for the cleaning and disinfection/sterilisation of infant feeding equipment.
HCWs should ensure that the appropriate infection control principles are applied when mothers use equipment to assist them with their breast-feeding, or when supplementing breast-feeding, eg. using feeding bottles. Moreover, this is an opportune time to promote good hygiene practice to mothers.
It is essential that equipment that is re-used for multiple babies/mothers for the purpose of expressing breast milk and feeding babies is processed safely, to prevent transmission of infection and contamination of equipment.
For the purpose of these guidelines breast milk is classified as a body fluid, as it may contain potentially infectious viruses and bacteria.
MINIMAL LEVEL OF REPROCESSING
Reusable equipment utilised for infant feeding or to express breast milk is classified as "semi-critical" and therefore requires processing by steam sterilisation or thermal disinfection prior to re-use (refer to AS/NZS 4187 - 20031).
In accordance with the Spaulding Classification System (1968), a semi-critical item is an item which comes into contact with non-sterile mucosa or non-intact skin. Heat tolerant items are preferably steam sterilised where possible, or a minimum of thermal disinfection is required. Heat sensitive items should be processed using low temperature automated chemical sterilant systems or a minimum of high level chemical disinfection2.
Automated equipment, such as washer/disinfectors, is recommended for use in thermal disinfection processes2. Health care facilities undergoing construction or refurbishment should source and appropriately site this equipment and related accessories for the purpose of decontaminating infant feeding equipment3.
HCWs should ensure that all equipment used in the process of assisting mothers to breast feed their babies should first be:
Note: Automated washer/disinfectors include cleaning mechanisms. Refer to the manufacturer's technical manual and AS 2945(Int) for reprocessing directions specific to this type of equipment.
STORAGE OF EQUIPMENT
Equipment that is not being used immediately after sterilisation or thermal disinfection should be stored in a clean container in a cupboard or refrigerator to protect from environmental contamination.
USE OF DISPOSABLE EQUIPMENT
Health care facilities have the option of using disposable equipment; this may be more practical for smaller units. However, consideration needs to be given to the item cost and environmental impact associated with using disposable items.
USE OF PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
Some health care facilities may wish to encourage mothers to provide their own personal feeding equipment, this includes bottles, teats and expressing kits.
CLEANING OF PERSONAL ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT
The cleaning of personal items used by a single infant/mother should follow similar recommendations, viz:
Equipment should be dried and stored in a container in the mother's room. The container should be labelled with the mother's name if a shared room is used.
Dr Gary Dowse
BIBLIOGRAPHY / REFERENCES:
This circular last updated: Thursday, 15 January 2004 at 12:00am