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  • Question: Does food storage include staff refrigerators or only refrigerators with patient items?
  • Question: What is the focus when it comes to endoscope reprocessing?

Infection ControlOn December 6, 2018 The Greeley Company held its annual “Survey Hot Spots” national webinar. Feel free to view our free “Hot Spots” webinar in case you missed the live session.

Among the questions raised during the webinar was a question about endoscope processing and food storage. These questions and our responses are below.

Return to Hot Spots Q and A post. 


Question: Does food storage include staff refrigerators or only refrigerators with patient items?

  • Answer: It depends. If only staff food is in a refrigerator, then temperature monitoring is not required by external requirements and guidelines (e.g. the FDA Model Food Code). However, if you choose not to monitor these refrigerators, we recommend:
    • making sure your policy, approved by the infection control committee, is clear that monitoring is not required, and
    • documenting a risk assessment that helps the surveyor through the regulatory and risk analysis. (See our discussion of risk assessment in our responses to questions about contracting and medication security)

Question: What is the focus when it comes to endoscope reprocessing?

  • Answer: Intense. We will spend a lot of time on high-level disinfection (including endoscope processing) in our Disinfection/Sterilization Cycle on-line learning coming up on March 13, 2019. In the meantime, take a look at our blog posts about this issue, The Joint Commission’s “Enhanced Survey Process” Put’s a Microscope on the Sterilization/Disinfection Cycle. This is a very highly cited issue (high-level disinfection is the #2 most frequently cited issue the Joint Commission during the first 3 quarters of 2018). A cluster of infections spread via incompletely-disinfected double-lumen duodenoscopes in 2015 and reported by CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/cdcstatement-la-cre.html) led CMS and accrediting organizations to focus on endoscope processing during surveys. Risk points include:
    • collection and proper handling in the endoscopy suite (as recommended by the instructions for Use or IFUs for the scope);
    • safe transport from the endoscopy suite, including a leak-proof container and a biohazard label;
    • decontamination in compliance with the IFUs for the scope and the cleaning agents/devices and the scope;
    • proper use of personal protective equipment;
    • quality control during disinfection;
    • functional separation of contaminated, clean and disinfected scopes/equipment, and
    • appropriate drying and storage practices in compliance with the IFUs from the scope manufacturer.

The Greeley Company team looks forward to helping you solve these difficult problems in the months and years to come. For more information about how Greeley can help accelerate solving your challenges with practical solutions, you may contact us at 1.888.749.3054, email us at info@greeley.com or complete the form below to start the conversation.

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