Making it easy to comply

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sterilising room
A well-organised, uncluttered sterilising room ensures effective infection control.

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Dentsply Sirona.

When it comes to sterilisation, there is a lot to take into consideration…

  • Matching the instruments to the correct load type, which instruments suit which load and why? 
  • Sorting the instruments as determined by Spaulding’s classification of critical or semi-critical
  • Correctly packaging the items for sterilisation
  • Correct loading of the autoclave
  • Daily monitoring of the autoclave
  • Routine batch control
  • Releasing the loads correctly
  • Tracing and tracking
  • Correct storage of the sterile stock and shelf life
  • Annual calibration and validation, what needs to be done, by whom and how.

There are so many tasks to take care of in the modern sterilisation department that it can be a challenge to get all the sterilisation done correctly on a busy day while at the same time ensuring that all the guidelines and standards are adhered to. The trick is to make it easy to comply.  

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With the continued pressure on all those employed in the health-care sector to meet ever-higher standards, it is vital to make sure that we stay up to date with current Infection Control Policies. 

When it comes to the choice of equipment to support clinical staff on a daily basis, one area where we see a direct link is in the area of instrument tracking. Tracking (better described as batch control identification) links a pack of instruments to a particular sterilising cycle with verifiable performance data. Tracing refers to being able to identify which individual instruments have been used on a particular series of patients.

Systems should already be in place which allows critical items of equipment (e.g. instruments used in high-risk procedures such as surgical procedures) to be tracked and these instruments traced back from a patient to a particular cycle. This can be a laborious and time-consuming task when handled manually with stickers and log books. 

Alternatively, investing in modern equipment such as Dac Premium autoclaves will make this task effortless. Barcode labels printed automatically can quickly be attached to instrument packets after sterilisation and then easily scanned into the patient’s record on the day of the appointment. Tracking is therefore possible with little additional staff time required. 

Similarly, the simple addition of a thermal disinfector into the workspace will improve the cleaning process, making it safer, faster and freeing up staff to attend to other duties. 

The design of the sterilising room should follow some basic principles to create correct workflow. Workflow should be easily identified in a flow that moves from:

Dirty: Pre-cleaning area (including thermal disinfection); and ultrasonic area and/or instrument washer.

To clean: Drying area; packaging area; articles awaiting sterilisation; and steriliser.

To sterile: Cooling area for articles waiting storage. 

Storage area for clean instruments

Working within these guidelines does not mean that style is sacrificed. Beautiful spaces with optimal workflow can be achieved making the sterilising room a functional stylish space in your practice. With correct design and the right equipment even the smallest of spaces can be functional and practical.

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