Hull hospitals invest in environmental monitoring systems for operating theatres

SAS Super air samplers from Cherwell Laboratories selected for enhanced microbiological monitoring and infection control

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has purchased three of Cherwell Laboratories’ SAS Super 180 air samplers for the environmental monitoring of operating theatres at Castle Hill Hospital and Hull Royal Infirmary to ensure surgical site cleanliness for infection control purposes.

The trust had two aging pieces of air sampling equipment for microbiological monitoring for surgical site infection prevention.

And, when one broke beyond repair, the remaining large, cumbersome instrument - which was trolley-based and required an external electricity supply - proved inefficient at covering multiple theatres across the trust’s sites.

Therefore, a business case was put forward by Greta Johnson, lead nurse in the department of infection, reviewing if air sampling should continue as there is no regulatory requirement for plenum ventilated theatres. If they did continue, then new equipment was required. And it was concluded that air sampling was important and funds for new air samplers were made available.

The infection control team investigated a number of different companies and air samplers, finding the SAS Super 180 air sampler from Cherwell to be the best option.

“We chose Cherwell’s SAS sampler as it is compact, easy-to-use, simple to maintain, and fit for purpose in sampling theatre environments,” said Johnson.

“The trust now has three SAS air samplers, one for Castle Hill Hospital, one for Hull Royal Infirmary, and a back-up sampler.”

New operating theatre environmental monitoring systems are helping to improve infection prevention and control at Hull hospitals

The small size and simplicity of the SAS samplers has resulted in improvements in the sampling processes and enhanced environmental monitoring practices at the trust.

The old sampling device, was very dated, trolley-based, and required an extension cable. It was also proving hard to clean the multiple components, cumbersome to position, and generally difficult to use.

The training programme given by Cherwell to the trust’s infection control team covered three areas of the SAS sampler, the cleanliness and sterilisation of the instrument, sampling and maintenance; demonstrating its overall convenience.

Cleaning of the SAS Super 180 is extremely simple as alcohol spray or impregnated wipes can be used to disinfect the surface of the air sampler.

The drilled sampling head can be readily checked, wiped clean or autoclaved. And, with the media plate placement area underneath the head, the instrument can be turned on to simply draw a mist of disinfecting alcohol spray through the device.

Furthermore, as the sampler is designed for cleanroom purposes, it can also be sterilised using vaporised hydrogen peroxide.

The sampling directions for volume size and delayed sampling on the SAS Super 180, are also intuitive.

It is easy to use due to its visual and audible cues, which help to inform the user about its status. In addition, the trust’s old system required prior testing to be performed to ensure the accuracy of the plate height; but the SAS Super 180 needs no such adjustments.

In addition, the device’s portability and speed of use contribute to making it ideal for the environmental monitoring of theatre environments.

Another benefit of the new SAS sampler observed by the infection control team is its ease of maintenance, as the team had prior concerns they would need to calibrate the instrument themselves, which they had to do on their old system.

However, with the SAS range, calibration is carried out by Cherwell Laboratories’ engineers; either at its engineering department in Bicester, Oxfordshire; or on-site.

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