Reprocessing reusable medical devices during a global pandemic

Mr Darren Martin1

1Bendigo Health, Bendigo, Australia

Introduction: Reprocessing reusable medical devices (RMD’s) is a specialised process that must be undertaken following strict guidelines and procedures. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, the question many healthcare facilities (HCF’s) were left asking was ‘is there a need to do anything differently with reusable medical devices during COVID-19?’

Methods: This presentation looks at current evidence of COVID-19 in the healthcare environment, and the potential impact for reprocessing medical devices and for those healthcare workers (HCW’s) responsible for reprocessing RMD’s including the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Results: There is limited evidence to suggest any additional requirements are needed when reprocessing RMD’s that have been used on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients however single-use medical devices are recommended to be used where possible. Where RMD’s are used, the manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions need to be followed and HCF’s must ensure that strict processes are in place and adhered to by all HCW’s.

Current literature suggest HCW’s are at risk of contracting COVID-19 when there is a breach in the PPE doffing process and therefore is a requirement for HCW’s to be appropriately trained in donning and doffing PPE, and HCF’s need to ensure there is suitable and adequate PPE supply.

Conclusion: HCF’s that already have the appropriate processes in place for reprocessing RMD’s may only be need to implement additional processes for in-between patient use to ensure the environment does not become contaminated and the HCW’s are protected during the transportation and processing of RMD’s.


Darren Martin is passionate about reprocessing reusable medical devices and ensuring high quality health care for patient safety. Having worked in reprocessing for nearly 20 years, Darren has completed many qualifications in sterilisation and infection prevention and control including a Master of Health Practice (Infection Prevention and Control).

Darren has previously worked in education and training for both sterilisation and infection prevention, and is presently the Central Sterilising Department manager at Bendigo Health. Darren is also a current committee member of the Victorian and Federal Sterilizing Research Advisory Council of Australia and sits on the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control Member Engagement Committee.

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