Ever since this department came into being in the healthcare fraternity, so much has occurred and this has probably given the central sterile supply department a new look all together. In the current world, it has become very rare to find nurses with lack of expertise in sterilization procedures working in these rooms. This is because such cases easily gave room for the occurrence of manual errors before the incorporation of technology.
It is a fact worth noting, that the scope of this department has enlarged. It has moved from a simple department which was only characterized by autoclave sterilization unit to become a unit which now embraces many other organs in the hospital. For instance it involves hospital infection control and equally stands for a dedicated workflow of both sterile supplies as well as goods. In a nut shell, the department has since grown to become an independent one and has facilities (Zadik, 2008). These facilities enable it to receive, clean, pack, disinfect, sterilize store and also carry out the distribution of instruments. Such devices can either be for multi-use or for single purposes. Each and every activity going on in this department is usually governed by protocols which are well delineated and procedures well standardized.
Just as it had been mentioned earlier, this department has seen a major face lift over the past many years and much of these changes can be attributed to the emergence of technology and the concept of outsourcing. (Zadik, 2008). Because of its vital portion in the healthcare fraternity, the workload may vary as one moves from one hospital to another. On top of the functions already outlined above, the department is also charged with other sensitive responsibilities. For instance, it controls all the activities which involve asset management which pertains to selective procurement of not only general but also specialized surgical instruments together with other inventory.
In the initial cases, CSSD was generally viewed as a key part of OT because the use of sterile equipment and supplies in hospitals was maximum to the OT. However, this scenario has since changed and the department is today considered a major function of the Out Patient Department, wards as well as other key departments. The enlarged scope of responsibilities in this department can be explained by the emergence of more efficient machines which have since replaced the manually operated ones, many of which usually led to manual errors (White, 1991). In most cases, the department is equipped with a high pressure sterilizer which is in a position to sterilize all the hospital requirements apart from those that may perish in the presence of high heat and pressure.
The department also has automated equipment mostly used for washing, autoclaving and disinfection. In order to ensure the safety and efficiency of the equipment and the department as a whole, a number of quality assurance procedures have been put in place. Some of these procedures include decontamination, proper handling of contaminated items, instrument care, proper cleansing checking the work conditions and the sharpness of the instruments. Other measures include the use of indicators in order to measure the adequacy of sterilization as well as monitoring the sterilization cycle. (Zadik, 2008). To sum it up, the department is also equipped with a computerized module which has been developed to enhance proper inventory control of reusable and the consumables processed through the CSSD.
One key factor which enables the smooth running of CSSD is the presence of a good workflow. This can only be achieved by the proper functioning of specific zones namely: dirty area, packing area, the sterile area and also the sterile goods. On the contrary, most hospital managements have always been reluctant to accord support and importance to CSSD. This is because this department is always considered a non-profitable venture.
Most of the machines and equipment are usually expensive. In the current world, technology has seen the development of advanced sterilizers all of which are computer controlled (White, 1991). The equipment also has a backup which therefore gives no room or margin for error. In order to achieve excellence in the midst of all the expenses involved, certain trends have developed especially in the West where single use devices are mostly used together with automated devices. The main constraint only comes, majorly from the high cost of the equipment.
The other unique trend is the fact that most hospitals do not out source sterilization of equipment to third party processors. Certain bodies like US- FDA sees to it that companies, hospitals as well as the third party processors get to meet all the required standards when reprocessing the SUDS. These standards must therefore match those set by the original manufacturers (White, 1991).
From the above information, the vital position of this department is clear hence should always be treated with that in mind. As a way of bringing about motivation in this fraternity, the staff as well as the management ought to change their view towards the department and see it not only as a non-profit making body but a key function in the success of almost all the other departments in the hospital. Although in itself it might not be a profit making portion of the hospital fraternity, the success in this area can always go a long way in enhancing the success in other departments within the hospital.
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