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Decontamination Of Laryngoscopes Essay

3926 words - 16 pages

The author has observed during exposure within the clinical environment and from previous experience, that laryngoscope handles are not cleaned to any specific standard. This lack of cleaning prompted a small scale research by the author in which fellow students were asked about their respective Trusts cleaning procedures of laryngoscopes. There was a variation of methods used, with no standardisation and a high proportion of units within the students Trusts that do not send their laryngoscopes for specialist cleaning and sterilisation. Therefore, after tutorial discussion it was decided that the objective of this assignment would be to explore the subject of laryngoscope cleanliness, in ...view middle of the document...

Polit and Beck (2004) describe EBP as making clinical decisions based on the best evidence available in order to deliver the most appropriate patient centred care. They go on to suggest that research is the best type of evidence for informing practice decisions and actions. However, Parahoo (1997) calls into question the validity of using research as the sole source of information on which to base our decisions, as the researchers may unconsciously introduce bias into their studies by attempting to answer questions they want answering in support of their observation of a particular issue.
Although nursing research has been around for a number of decades, it is only the relatively recent concept of EBP that all healthcare professionals are increasingly expected to adopt, so much so that this philosophy is enshrined in their respective codes of conduct. However, trying to create an evidence-based, research aware culture and implementation of evidence into practice may not always be straightforward due to a number of reasons. Gagan and Hewitt-Taylor, (2004) identified these reasons as lack of time, financial constraints, resistance to change, attitudes and lack of motivation. This view is supported by Closs and Cheater (1999), Ritter (2001), and Basset and Basset (2003), all of whom have identified problems with implementing evidence into practice from an organizational level down to the healthcare professional.

The literature in this review was obtained by a search of MEDLINE, PUBMED and CINAHL databases from 1990 through to present. A number of different search strategies were used with search terms that included ‘laryngoscope’, ‘contamination’, ‘cross-infection’, ‘occult-blood’, and ‘anaesthetic equipment’. Additional articles were identified from reference list screening, review articles and abstracts before obtaining full articles, from electronic and library sources. A number of research pieces have been acknowledged to which this author will be reviewing and discussing. In reviewing the relevant literature, it is important to acknowledge that previous research has been primarily directed towards the laryngoscope blade as the source of potential cross-infection.

The laryngoscope is an integral part of anaesthetic equipment used by the anaesthetic practitioner to visualise the vocal cords and trachea beyond, in order to facilitate endotracheal intubation and laryngoscopic procedures. The basic design of the standard laryngoscope has been relatively unchanged since the early 1940’s (Yee, 2003), and consists of a handle and detachable folding blade. The laryngoscope blade comes into close contact with mucous membranes, saliva and occasionally blood, all of which can harbour potentially harmful microorganisms. The handle however, does not usually come into direct contact with mucous membranes, but can be contaminated by the blade when it has been folded and should therefore be considered as a potential source of cross-infection...

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