Swope Health Services has launched a state-of-the-art sterile processing area at Central and Wyandotte locations.
The new Sterile Processing department is similar to centers housed in large hospitals.
The purpose is to assure patient safety in the decontamination of all reusable instruments used in medical and dental procedures.
“We’re raising the bar for community health centers,” said Debbie Meads, program manager, who directed the construction of the department.
The project involved changes to the Central clinic environment, water and air handling, as well as to the transportation and storage of instruments.
The project also included an education plan for all associates who work with reusable instruments and special training for about 10 associates in proper disinfection and sterilization of reusable instruments.
These associates now serve as sterilization processing technicians.
“Other than handwashing, sterilization is the next most important thing to consider in infection control,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and a practicing pediatrician.
“It is vital to make sure our instruments are sterile, and how we handle and clean contaminated equipment is just as important. It’s important to the safety of our patients, associates and families.”
Prior to the development of the Sterile Processing areas, equipment was sterilized in autoclaves or small steam chambers in various clinics.
The new department creates greater efficiency and assures consistent practice in the decontamination and sterilization of all materials, under the same standards, every day.
“Our program is important in delivering excellent patient care,” said Dr. Thomas. “It demonstrates our commitment to reducing and controlling infection.”