Small steps make a big difference. That’s the advice of many experts around this time of year. If you want to make a change—and really make it stick—break it into small, manageable steps. At Case Medical, we know a thing or two about instrument processing, so we’re kicking off the new year by sharing some best practices for sterilization containers throughout the usage cycle—at point of use and beyond.
Inspection at Point of Use
The goal of the inspection phase is to verify that the container has been properly processed. Make sure that tamper evident seals are intact, that filters are visible before you open, and that contents are correctly identified. Confirm that the external indicator on the tamper evident seal or load card displays the correct end point result.
Bonus tip: SteriTite® containers feature a unique offset vent pattern to prevent filter strikethrough during transport and handling and you can see that the filter is in place without opening the container.
Pre-treatment of instrument sets starts immediately at point of use. This is important to prevent soils and bioburden from drying on surgical devices and in the transport container. When you place used devices into the container for transport, pre-treat with a pH neutral pre-cleaner, like PentaPrep® multi-enzymatic cleaner or CasePrep® non-enzymatic cleaner.
Bonus tip: Never use saline to keep instruments moist as it will corrode the instruments and the anodized aluminum container. Avoid pretreatment gels as they are viscous, sticky, and will harden over time, creating a challenge for the decontamination process.
The goal of the transportation phase is to ensure that used items are collected, labeled, and secured for transport to the decontamination area. Utilize a SteriTite® container with biohazard tamper evident seal to identify sets after use. Case carts are also required to be identified with a biohazard indicator to avoid confusion, misuse, and disease transmission.
Bonus tip: SteriTite® Disposition Monitors are a reliable, hassle-free solution for indicating whether case cart contents are clean or contaminated (biohazard). Simply affix adhesive side to your preferred (and clean) location.
The goal of reprocessing is to ensure that instruments and sterilization containers are ready for the next use. This means that each container must be washed, rinsed, and dried after each use. It is important to use sterilization containers that are anodized and passivated to avoid corrosion and galvanic reactions.
Bonus tip: Case Medical provides a full line of pH neutral cleaners—US EPA Safer Choice labeled as safe, sustainable—designed to maintain the useful life of containers and surgical devices.
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Do you have a tip to share, a question to ask, or a best practice to champion? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!