Generally, it is observed that the process of sterilization does get its due importance but most often post-sterilization handling, storage, transport and aseptic presentation is over looked. Any chain is as strong as its weakest link. Therefor if sterility maintenance is not taken care of then all the good work done has no meaning.
Sterility maintenance includes selection of appropriate wrapping martial or container that allows adequate sterilant contact as well as post- sterilization protection from contaminants. Next is packing method that creates a tortuous path to prevent entry of contamination. Then come sealing or closure to secure the pack. Once these packs are unloaded from sterilizer, these are to be left on wire mesh shelves in order to allow drying (as due to temperature difference between sterilizer and external environment of storage area, condensate has to be evaporated).
Once dried, there are safe for handling and transport. Here, care should be taken to handle with clean hands and transport with the help of clean trolleys. To ease aseptic presentation, two covers are used. Outer transport cover and inner protecting cover. Finally, the user has to follow standard operating protocol for presenting the sterile material to the healthcare practitioner in such a way that the sterile material is directly handled with sterile gloves without coming in contact with any other surface or wrapper. Patient safety demands utmost care to be taken before sterile material actually reaches the sterile contact point.
Author: Mrs. Gauri Bhatia
Mentor – Safe Sterile Club
IAHCSMM certified Central Service Expert from Purdue University, Pennsylvania.
Hospital Infection prevention practitioner
Post graduate in Microbiology
Over three decades experience of hospital administration with passion in Operations and Quality.
Advisor – Hospital Sterile Services Association
Life member – Hospital Infection Society (Mumbai Forum)