Decontamination of Laryngoscopes

The author has observed during exposure within the clinical environment and from previous experience, that laryngoscope handles are not cleaned to any specific standard.   This lack of cleaning prompted a small scale research by the author in which fellow students were asked about their respective Trusts cleaning procedures of laryngoscopes.   There was a variation of methods used, with no standardisation and a high proportion of units within the students Trusts that do not send their laryngoscopes for specialist cleaning and sterilisation.   Therefore, after tutorial discussion it was decided that the objective of this assignment would be to explore the subject of laryngoscope cleanliness, in particular that of the handle, and its potential as a vector for transmission of infection to the patient.   The assignment will critically appraise the body of knowledge available by identifying relevant research and other material in order to assess its impact upon current practice, and to identify areas for further study where appropriate.

The stages of the research process will be identified and its importance to all healthcare professionals, who are ‘seeking to develop an evidence-based practice’ (Polit and Beck, 2004 p 79), a process which is essential for informing practice which ultimately impacts on the care of the patient in terms of both quality and safety.   An understanding of the research process is essential and a broad knowledge base of the subject to be evaluated is required if critical appraisal is to be effective, a skill that according to Tarling and Crofts (2002, p54), ‘is the most difficult skill of all’.

Healthcare professionals are duty bound by their respective codes of conduct to actively participate in promoting and maintaining high standards of patient care through evidence-based practice (EBP), research and reflective practice (Association of Operating Department Practitioners, 2005).   Polit and Beck (2004) describe EBP as making clinical...