Another issue is having enough sets for the number of
surgeries a facility schedules. There is a lot of instrument
turnover, and Nuber said sometimes that doesn’t give the
employees enough time to go through all the cleaning stages
to make sure the instruments are really clean. He pointed to
a new approach. Using a tracking system for instrument sets
could help facilities collect data on the sets they use frequently so they can invest in more if needed, see how long it takes
to clean the sets and identify any transportation issues that are
slowing the turnover process down. Some systems also track
individual instruments, so, if one goes missing, it can easily be
located. “In the end, it comes back to the facility being able to
budget finances to say ‘this is what we need to do for the best
end result for our patients’,” said Behn.
The same mistakes keep happening and
aren’t ever fixed.
This problem is also systematic and can be solved by cre-
ating a physical presence in both departments, Nuber said.
The sterile processing department manager or lead technician
from central sterile can periodically visit the OR manager to
request feedback on the instrument sets, regarding on-time
delivery and proper condition, but also to develop a working
relationship with consistent feedback. The OR manager can
also visit central sterile to understand the details of instru-
ment decontamination, cleaning, prep and pack and steriliza-
tion and storage, Nuber suggested.
Surgical teams are frustrated, because
sets aren’t clean.
Although this could go back to delayed return for cleaning, it
might also be a lack of training, Buford said. “I think it’s important for places to make sure they have people who are knowledgeable about reprocessing – at least one person who has had
experience so you have that good, solid base,” she said.
All the surgical instruments have manufacturer instructions
for use (IFU). Normally, these are all different, and, especially
for more complex instruments, not being trained properly
could have big implications, Buford explained.
“Even the ones who really are trying, they’re only good as
what’s given to them to do their job,” Behn said. “A lot of them
are really trying to do what is best, but, again, if they don’t have
the resources available… there’s only so much they can do.”
Recognizing these healthcare workers for the importance of
their job and what they do is important, she said, adding the
surgical team could be one of the best, but, if they’re using a
contaminated set, the patient’s outcome will suffer.
I made a change that
reduced HAIs in my hospital.
Sue Moeslein RN, MSA, CIC, Riverside Regional Medical Center
CDC statistics show that in the United States, 1 in every 25 patients
will contract a hospital acquired infection (HAI) costing upwards
of $30 billion annually, with close to 75,000 patients dying.
Our mission at Xenex is to eliminate the pathogens that cause
infections affecting the health and lives of millions of patients
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