Aseptic technique


Aseptic non-touch technique (ANTT)

  • ANTT is the technique which aims to prevent any pathogens or organisms from entering the body by hands, surfaces or the equipment being used during medical and surgical procedures.
  • We need to consider performing in ways so that we are not contaminating susceptible hosts
  • We should be identifying what risks the procedure you are doing and choose the appropriate action through evidence- based practive.
  • Asepsis and the associated aseptic technique are terms used to describe processes which aim to prevent contamination of wounds, specimens or susceptible body sites, or invasive devices.
  • Aseptic technique when performed correctly, will break the chain of infection and be doing so protects the patient.
  • Medical asepsis aims to prevent transmission by applying standard principles of infection prevention including hand decontamination, use of PPE and not touching susceptible sites or the surface of medical devices
  • Surgical asepsis is more complex, including procedures to eliminate microorganisms from an area.
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Aseptic non-touch technique- sterile gloves

  • Sterile gloves and sterile fields- these are classed as safe to have sterile eqipment or specific medication within them. Do not touch with non-sterile gloves. This is classed as contamination.
  • Sterile gloves are used for dressing changes, surgery, changing a catheter, handling of intravenous lines.

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Aseptic technique and infection prevention

All infection prevention and control standard precautions must be implemented in conjunction with a correct aseptic technique to ensure the prevention of infection, i.e.

  • Hand washing/decontamination/surgical scrub.
  • Clean, safe and appropriate environment in the procedure area. All cleaning activities must be suspended whilst aseptic techniques are in progress.
  • Clean/sterile equipment and maintaining a sterile field.
  • Use of personal protective equipment e.g. gloves, aprons, surgical attire, 
  • Correct patient preparation, including information required on the process to be performed. There is no UK standard for aseptic practice, or for teaching aseptic practice and therefore practice is highly variable.

The following guidance is adapted from the evidence based “Clinical Nursing Procedures” from the Royal Marsden Hospital (2008) and provides a standardised procedure that all staff should follow.

In the past, many aseptic techniques included a ritualistic practice of cleaning trolleys with alcohol between clients. It is now felt that this serves no useful purpose, and that a trolley cleaned with detergent and hot water or general purpose detergent (GPD) hard surface wipes and dried with paper roll is sufficient, as the sterile field will be created by the sterile towel contained within the dressing pack

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How clean is clean?

  • Cleaning is the physical removal of organisms using soap and running water
  • Disinfection is the process where moat organisms are destroyed, however spores remain
  • Sterilisation is the process where all micro-organisms are destroyed. This process is required for all high risk equipment that penetrates the skin and enters sterile body cavities
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Source isolation

  • Targeting infection prevention and control where organisms is known
  • Route of transmission is known e.g. airborne, respiratory, contact
  • Using the appropriate barrier nursing principles (please refer back to PPE use)
  • Adhere to local policy on waste bag usage

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Waste bags- Use local trust policy

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