We understand that the demand for safe, sterile environments and instruments is daunting. However, the right protocols coupled with the proper equipment can make the task of sterilization a bit more manageable… if all is working well, that is.
When sterilization equipment fails or isn’t working to its full capacity, it impacts your practice and impedes your ability to serve your patients with confidence. So, if sterilization is important, what’s the answer to keeping up on this facet of practice management? Well, it starts with asking the right questions plus creating clear expectations for your sterilizer. We’ve compiled a list of 5 checkpoints to consider regarding your sterilization equipment and its function.
Here are 5 evaluation points to review for your sterilizer:
- Determine that your sterilizer is working properly. This is important when it comes to reducing the microbial load to avoid the risk of infection by operators. The right sterilizer helps to provide confidence that instruments are prepared thoroughly.
- Test the sterilizer’s functionality and integrity. Tracking the results of your sterilizer’s functionality means you have a documented record and idea of its effectiveness. You may be going through the process of sterilizing, but if your machine isn’t up to snuff, the results may be questionable.
- Are the pouches and CSR wrap of high quality? And are biological indicators being used within the pouch or pack? Because this helps to guarantee sterility, pouches and wraps are a key element in your process.
- Track the repairs and maintenance on the sterilizer. If continuous repairs are needed, does it need to be replaced? Ensuring that your equipment is serviced periodically means longevity to your machine. It’s important to keep track of maintenance cycles and to document what repairs are needed and how often a service call is placed.
- Are there signs that the sterilizer is not working properly? One thing to watch for is if the sterilizer won’t reach the temperature set-point. This could be due to a clog in the drain or other repairs needed. Excessive water going down the drain is a good indicator that a valve is broken or stuck in the “open” position. On the other hand, if steam is coming out of the drain, it’s a sign that the valve is broken in the “closed” position.
Some of these “hiccups” with your sterilizer may seem like minor annoyances, but they should not be overlooked. More than likely if a machine isn’t performing correctly, the issue will get worse. It may be better to have the repair done sooner rather than later to avoid costly fixes or total replacement.
If you don’t feel confident about the sterilization process in your center, feel free to contact AIE at 855-226-8282. Our sterilization experts will answer all your questions and help ensure you are taking the necessary measures to keep up the great work in assuring your patient’s safety.