Maintaining a sterile storage area relies on using the right packing materials, storage methods, and environmental conditions. Developing sterile storage policies and procedures based on accepted guidelines helps to ensure that surgical instrumentation and supplies remain sterile until they are used. Below are a few storage guidelines to help maintain sterility.
▶︎ Maintaining sterility starts with making sure the items being moved into storage are sterile. Follow guidelines, IFU’s, and facility procedures for processing and packing surgical instrumentation to set yourself up for success.
▶︎ Surgical packs are prone to ripping and punctures, especially when moving them in and out of storage. Make sure your shelving has a smooth, burr free finish and rounded edges or use shelf covers to help protect surgical packs from heading back to reprocessing.
▶︎ Do not overcrowd or stack packages on top of each other. Store sterile packed items in one layer. This will help ensure the packages are not crushed, bent, or compressed, compromising their sterility.
▶︎ Soiled or stained packages are to be treated as though they are contaminated. Items in these contaminated packages will need to be discarded or reprocessed.
▶︎ Once sterile items are in storage, do not touch or move them until you are ready to prepare a case. Each interaction creates an opportunity to compromise the sterile item.
▶︎ Store sterile items in a low traffic, temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
More to come on this in February’s post.