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Oral health

Reprocessing of Reusable Medical Devices in Oral Health

Effective reprocessing of reusable medical devices in oral health facilities is important in preventing healthcare associated infections. Queensland Health recommends the adoption of a centralised/rationalised service delivery model for the reprocessing of reusable medical devices in Queensland Health oral health facilities.

Queensland Health oral health facilities should perform regular risk analyses for the reprocessing of reusable medical devices used in oral health, particularly if reprocessing is not being undertaken using a centralised model.

Oral health services must ensure they meet current standards for sterilizing practices. The relevant Australian Standards are AS/NZS 4187:2014 Reprocessing of reusable medical devices in health service organizations, and AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office-based health care facilities—Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment.

Assessment Tool

Oral health facilities that undertake reprocessing activities must ensure compliance with relevant standards. A review of instrument reprocessing practice should be undertaken every six months in all oral health clinics that reprocess reusable dental instruments. The Oral Health Sterilizing Assessment Tool (OHSAT) may assist Oral Health facilities in meeting the minimum requirements for the reprocessing of reusable dental instruments.

Standard Operating Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Workplace Skills Assessments (WSA) have been developed to assist oral health facilities to operationalise the relevant Australian Standards. These resources provide a framework for undertaking reprocessing activities.

The SOPs and WSAs are divided into five sections:

  • Cleaning Procedures
  • Packaging and Wrapping Procedures
  • Sterilizing Procedures
  • Sterile Storage Area Procedures
  • Quality Assurance

Batch Labelling

Pre-sterilization labelling and checking of batch labels is a five step checking process. These steps are important to validate the sterilizer and items to be sterilized have been through the correct process. This will reduce the incidence of unprocessed instruments being put back into use.

  1. Determine which sterilizer the items are to be sterilized in and select the correct label gun for the sterilizer.
  2. Determine the cycle number the items will be sterilized with. The cycle number should be one more than the number from the last sterilization cycle print-out.
  3. Set the cycle number on the label gun.
  4. Set the date on the label gun.
  5. Print a test label to ensure the information is aligned correctly on the label, is clear and legible.

Please Note: The change of the Class 1 chemical indicator on the label does not indicate sterility, but that the instruments have been put through the process. The print-outs from the sterilizers are the definitive check that the full cycle has completed correctly and instruments have been sterilized.

Supporting Documents

The following documents must be used in conjunction with the Queensland Health Disinfection and Sterilization Guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures for Oral Health:

Training Presentations

All files are in Microsoft Powerpoint format. Click on hyperlink below and choose SAVE as your option. Save file to a shared drive folder.

Overview of Standard Operating Procedures

Last updated: 6 October 2017