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Infection Control and Cleanliness: Single-use Medical Devices and Equipment in Care Homes Policy

Policy Statement

Infection control is a critical element in the running and management of any care home as serious infections can easily be spread if inadequate controls are in place.

The protection of people who use services from such diseases is a key aim of {{org_field_name}}, which expects all of its staff and volunteers to adhere strictly to a range of policies relating to the control of infection, including this one, which is designed to protect people from the risks of infection associated with medical devices.

The policy is in line with all statutory requirements for care services to maintain high standards of cleanliness of facilities and equipment and health and safety laws.

Legal Considerations

This care service will adhere to all relevant legislation, including:

Under the above legislation, and associated codes of practice, {{org_field_name}} understands its legal and moral duty to ensure the health and safety of both staff and people who use services and to protect them, wherever practicable, from dangerous substances in the workplace, including the risk of transmission of infections.

This policy should be read and used in relation to other cleanliness and infection control policies.

Applicable best practice infection control guidance includes:

Specialist advice and support will be obtained from the local public health protection team and from relevant primary healthcare teams.


{{org_field_name}} recognises that it must comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 in order to meet its legal requirement for registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

With respect to infection control, the home understands that a range of regulations may apply, including:

Guidance for Providers on Meeting the Regulations, published by the CQC in March 2015, provides guidance on how this service should comply with the regulations.

Under regulation 15(2) the guidance states that:

Definitions and Theory

{{org_field_name}} understands the term “single-use medical devices” to refer to a device that is intended to be used on an individual person during a single procedure and then discarded. In this respect, the home interprets the expression “single-use” on the packing of a medical device (or an equivalent statement, such as “not for re-use”) to mean that the manufacturer:

The Medical Devices Regulations 2002 require that all medical devices placed on the market carry a CE marking.

The rationale behind the use of such equipment is that in certain circumstances the use of disposable sterile equipment may present a lower infection control risk than the sterilisation or disinfection of reusable equipment.

The use of single-use equipment is covered by guidelines issued by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). These are primarily contained within Single-use medical devices: implications and consequences of reuse, published in October 2019.

The guidance represents an update of Device Bulletin DB2006 Single-use Medical Devices: Implications and Consequences of Re-use and Equipped to Care.

The guidance states the following.

The MHRA warns that the following problems may be caused by inappropriate re-use.

These problems will be exacerbated through prolonged and repeated re-use.

The home understands “re-use” to apply to medical devices that are not single-use and which can safely be used again following some form of reprocessing between use, ranging from a simple washing of the item to a full cleaning and sterilisation process.


Single-use devices should not be confused with “single-patient use” devices, which may be used more than once on the same person and may undergo reprocessing as advised by the manufacturer.


To fully protect people who use services from the risks associated with single-use medical devices, in {{org_field_name}} the following applies.

Covid-19 Infection and Prevention Measures

{{org_field_name}} understands that key guidance for care homes in England includes:

{{org_field_name}} is aware of the danger of Covid-19 being transmitted from one person to another via contaminated equipment. The appropriate use of single-use sterile equipment and the effective cleaning and decontamination of reusable equipment is therefore of extreme importance.

In {{org_field_name}}:

Low-risk equipment can be cleaned sufficiently with hot water and detergent.


All staff are responsible for the implementation of this policy.

Overall responsibility for ensuring that the policy is implemented, monitored and reviewed rests with the Infection Control Lead for the home.

The Infection Control Lead will work closely with the manager of the home to ensure that all infection control policies are effectively implemented and that the home has adequate supplies of handwashing materials and facilities, personal protective equipment and sterile clinical equipment, including single-use medical devices.

The procurement strategy for these products will be led by the Infection Control Lead and will be based upon sound best practice principles.

Individual staff practitioners are responsible for ensuring that they implement this policy wherever necessary and exercise adequate infection control precautions at all times, seeking further advice from the Infection Control Lead as required.

Information on the policy will be:


All new staff should read this policy as part of their induction. Those staff who are required to work with single-use medical devices will be expected to be appropriately trained, qualified and competent to do so. The home will ensure that appropriate access to ongoing infection control refresher training will be provided to all persons with clinical or cleaning roles.


The use of single-use medical devices within the organisation will be subject to regular audit to monitor compliance with this policy.

The Infection Control Lead for the home is responsible for ensuring that evidence-based policies and procedures in relation to the control of infection are developed and their implementation monitored.

The Infection Control Lead for the home will monitor carefully any incident reports relating to infection control matters in order to identify any trends or patterns.

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

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