The central sterile/sterile processing department (CS/SPD) at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Fort Gordon, GA. found the storage of loaner instrument trays to be the greatest challenge to their space constraints. They had been sterilizing these trays using sterilization wrap, and then stacking the wrapped trays on top of one another because there was simply no room to store them otherwise.
Two years ago, they switched from using wrap to rigid containers for loaner tray sterilization. According to the facility’s Operating Room/Sterile Processing Supply Chain Manager, Chuck DePreker, this change has allowed them to work within their space constraints without jeopardizing the sterile integrity of the instruments.
“When you stack wrapped trays it compromises the micro barrier and can lead to perforations,” said DePreker. “Rigid containers you can stack one on top of the other without compromising anything. This has enabled us to work effectively and safely within our current space, and supports industry best practices.”
The CS/SPD at Eisenhower Army Medical Center has also put into place an improved process for managing loaner trays. Whereas before the vendor representatives would have to search around for their trays following use, today the facility has in place a designated area where they store loaner trays following decontamination.
“Loaner trays are staged in a single, user-friendly location so vendors know exactly where to find them,” said DePreker. “It is a simple solution but one that has helped tremendously with process efficiency.”
In addition, DePreker and his team have been carefully analyzing surgical instrument inventory to determine which instruments are no longer in use and therefore taking up valuable space.