AORN’s Current Guideline for Sterilization

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) published their updated “Guideline for sterilization” last September. The guideline covers recommendations for sterilization reusable medical devices by steam, dry heat, as well as, low temperature methods including ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma or vapor, ozone combined with hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. In addition to addressing […]

Guidelines for Table Top Sterilizers

Medical advances have led to an increased use of unconventional health care sites, such as offices, ambulatory-care centers, dental and other specialty clinical settings. Clinical or office-based practices may differ greatly from hospitals in their education and training of reprocessing employees and the physical design. ANSI/AAMI ST79:2017b Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance […]

Sterilization and High-level Disinfection Guidelines: Should be Based on Current Evidence

Recently, physician societies have published their own guidelines for reprocessing instruments and equipment (e.g., gastroenterology and ophthalmology). These guidelines are very confusing and somewhat disconcerting to expert reprocessing professionals for the following reasons:   Those physician created guidelines did not go out for public comments, leaving no chance of input from reprocessing experts. Some recommendations […]

Point of Use Care for Surgical Instruments: A Hot Button for Surveyors

Care and handling of surgical instruments is a shared responsibility between the Operating Room (OR) and Sterile Processing (SP) personnel. Research has proven that preparation for decontamination must begin at the point of use (POU). However, many facilities are not following the guidelines. Surveyors from accreditation organizations such as The Joint Commission are citing facilities […]

Don’t Process What You Can’t Clean

It has been proven repeatedly that if an item is not properly cleaned it cannot be effectively reprocessed.  Healthcare professionals know, “If it isn’t clean it can’t be sterilized or high-level disinfected”.  The first and most important step in reprocessing reusable medical devices is thorough cleaning and rinsing. So how is cleaning defined? Let’s look […]

Wait! Should We Really Be Processing These? A Closer Look at Properly Processing Put-Ups

Any prudent sterile processing professional knows you must follow the manufacturers’ validated instructions for use (IFU) in order to verify that items can be effectively sterilized.  Manufacturers have very strict rules and regulations that they must follow in order to get approval and clearance to take their products to market. As a sterile processing consultant, […]

Sterilization or Disinfection? It’s time to Modernize the Spaulding Classification System!

In 1968, Dr. Earle Spaulding classified medical devices into three categories based on device usage and body contact.  What we currently know as the Spaulding system, classifies devices as critical (presenting a high risk), semi-critical and non-critical (presenting a low risk) depending on the infection risk involved. The system also classifies the appropriate level of […]

Newly Updated ANSI/AAMI ST79:2017 is now available

ANSI/AAMI ST79, The comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in healthcare facilities is known in the sterile processing profession as the bible for reprocessing guidelines. There have been no updates or amendments since 2003, until now. This comprehensive update to ST79 has major revisions, that includes a user-friendly reorganization of content, ST79 is […]

Verification of Instrument Cleaning Processes

The old saying “If it is not clean it can’t be sterilized”, is extremely true.  Sterile Processing departments (SPD) routinely use physical, chemical and biological monitors to verify sterilization conditions are met. Nevertheless, these monitors do not monitor if the items were properly clean prior to being placed in a sterilizer. The U.S. Food and […]

Solving Wet Pack or Wet Load Issues

  One of the most frustrating and time-consuming issues in sterilization is troubleshooting wet packs or wet loads.  A sterilized package is considered a wet pack if moisture (dampness, droplets, or puddles of water) is left in or on a package after the proper cooling period.1  Moisture on or inside a package is an issue […]

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