Advancing training in decontamination

Beverley Mitton discusses the importance of providing training in decontamination to ensure competency. Ensuring staff understand both how and why tasks are undertaken is vital to ensuring sustainable best practice and patient safety.

Reported instances of failed decontamination practices within the UK are fortunately infrequent. However, due to their nature, they are always significant. Recently, a Healthcare Safety Branch Investigation (HSIB) highlighted, yet again, the causes and consequences of such failures. After such an event, a root cause analysis may highlight many contributing factors, which may include:

If we disregard wilful neglect, each of the above failures are a consequence of someone undertaking a duty or task without sufficient knowledge and understanding.

Almost every report published of this nature makes recommendations to ensure that staff are adequately trained and understand the critical aspects being performed in their role. One of the earliest reports advising of the need to adequately train people was published in 1958, Present Sterilizing Practises in Six Hospitals. This concluded that the need for trained and competent operators is essential.  

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