The Importance of a Clean and Sterile Supply Storage Process in a Clinical Area

/ By DSI Marketing TeamNovember 25, 2022

A clinical area is a critical place. Everything in it has to be kept clean and sterile. If you're running a clinical area, you have to plan for everything, from, sterile instrument storage to how personnel can wash their hands properly to keep them safe.

This article will look at the importance of having a clean and sterile supply storage process in a clinical area and how to maintain that.

Why Keep Things Sterile?

You've probably heard the historical tidbit that surgeries in medieval times were performed by barbers rather than physicians. Even if the procedures were conducted by the equivalent of medical doctors back then, the patients would have seen little benefit.

Hip amputations during the American Civil War had a mortality rate of 83%, while upper-arm amputations were 24%. Those were horrific numbers, but considering the level of medical knowledge that was available at the time, you would be amazed as to why the rates are not higher.

Those rates are a thing of the past largely because we know the importance of keeping things sterile. Before, medical instruments were not sterilized at all—which exposed wounds and patients to germs, causing infections.

Now, deaths due to unclean and unsterilized medical instruments are very rare these days. The importance of sterilization is drilled into the minds of modern medical practitioners right from the start of their training.

Sterilization and cleanliness, in general, are important to prevent infections that can worsen the medical conditions of patients. These can also help in preventing additional costs that infection might entail.

Best Practice Recommendations for Sterile Supply Storage

It's now time to go through some of the best practices for sterile supply storage.

Practice Proper Hand Hygiene

When you are handling medical supplies that are meant to be kept clean and sterile, then you must maintain the cleanliness of the hands of the staff. 

Anyone who will be handling the supplies must practice proper hand hygiene. They must wash their hands thoroughly according to the standards that are set by experts.

Contrary to what others are thinking, it's not advisable for personnel to use gloves when handling medical supplies—that's because dirt and germs will be easier to stick on the glove surface.

Bare hands will be easier to wash and keep clean and would be less likely to transfer germs to the supplies.

Follow Storage Recommendations

You need to follow storage recommendations for medicines to ensure that none will expire while in storage. Expired and spoiled medicines can cause harm to patients and they can also ruin storage.

Follow storage guidelines like the first in first out (FIFO) principle, which basically states that items that came into the storage first should be taken out ahead of the ones which were stored after it.

Store Sterile Supplies Separately

Supplies that must be kept clean and sterile should be separated from the rest of the items that must be stored. They should be kept away from the regular foot traffic of the staff that is coming and going into the storage area.

Those supplies must be kept protected from dust, moisture, humidity, and extremes of temperature. If there are separate rooms in your storage area, it is best to keep the sterile items in the inner rooms.

Do Not Use Certain Areas for Storage

There are certain areas that should not be used as storage spaces. For example, window sills and corridors are not places where you want to keep sterile supplies.

There is a good chance that those items will get contaminated there. Other types of supplies can be kept there, but not the ones which require being sterile.

Maintain Integrity of Packages

Sterile items like surgical gloves and masks must be kept in packages that are secured. The integrity of those packages is crucial in making sure that items will be safe and sterile.

The packages should be kept intact up to the time when the items are used. For example, if the packaging for surgical masks is damaged, the masks might get contaminated.

Clean the Storage Area

While the packaging must be kept clean, the same thing goes for the storage area. You must maintain the cleanliness of the area where all the items will be kept.

There should be no opportunities for bacteria and other germs could grow there and make sure that you clean the storage area regularly.

Surfaces Should Be Easy to Clean

As you can see, storing sterile materials involves a lot of cleaning and keeping things clean. While you are still designing the storage area, you need to make sure that you only use a surface that is easy to clean and maintain.

If the current surface in your storage is difficult to clean, then you must change that.

Limit Access to Storage Area

What's one of the leading sources of contamination in a storage area? It's usually people.

When people walk inside the storage area they can bring in contaminants that affect the sterile items. The ideal solution for this is to limit access to the storage area and make sure that only those who are able to enter are those who are supposed to be there in the first place.

Adequate Space

A common way for packaging to get damaged during storage is when they are crushed against each other. This happens when there is no adequate space. 

You need to make sure that stored items will have adequate space in between them. That ensures that the packaging will not be crushed and will get damaged.

Choose Distribution Systems International for Clean and Sterile Storage Solutions

We are the top supplier of healthcare storage solutions for medical office buildings, ambulatory surgery clinics, and hospitals.

We provide our clients with first-rate sterile instrument storage and state-of-the-art medical supply systems with great quality and customer service using LEAN inventory management systems.

To help you with high-quality storage solutions and the tools you need to ensure the success of your project, our expert team of professionals is always ready to assist you. Contact us at 800-393-6090 at Distribution Systems International today!

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