With COVID-19 dominating the news lately and bringing light to how important it is to keep things disinfected and sterile, it is a good time to talk about the way hospitals can keep their medical supply storage organized, flexible and properly set up.
It is mandatory by law that hospitals organize their sterile materials a certain way. This means that departments that need certain items to be sterile must have a dirty and a clean side that is completely separated. This is to make sure that there is no way for dirty tools to be mixed up with clean and sterile ones. If this were to happen, it could spread disease, infection and be a health hazard for patients.
In order to keep things completely separate, most hospitals have a very strict system in place. Most of the time, the tools or whatever needs to be sterilized goes into a high speed washer. The pieces are put into cassettes, which are like small cases that keep them in place to make sure that they don’t get lost or broken.
After it has been washed, the items are then packaged and inserted into a sterilizer. This machine is built into the wall to ensure things are kept separate. This works by inserting the items into one side in one room, then they are removed from the machine on the other side in a completely separate room. This ensures that there is no way for the dirty items to be confused with the clean items because they will never be in the same room.
When designing a hospital, it is important to try to think ahead to what the space could eventually need when it grows or technology evolves. It is difficult to make decisions on sizing medical supply storage or other necessities because it is difficult to determine the future. Most sterile storage departments are designed based on current guidelines. This means that whatever is required for this type of storage in whatever department it is being installed into is what is designed. Oftentimes growth is not taken into consideration.
Once a sterile storage unit is built and in place, it is unlikely that the facility will ever get a new area or get the opportunity to expand. If they do, it is not storage that typically sees the expansion, but places that hold patients instead. This means that the area designated to storage, specifically sterile storage, will quickly become too small for changing processes or the increase of products due to new procedures or equipment.
This is why it is important to think smart when designing your sterile storage space and all medical supply storage. Since keeping things up to standard and completely disinfected and sterile is of the most importance, you need to be sure that all of the items are stored in a way that sterility is maintained until a product is used. This means that your design should be done to get the most out of your space.
The best way to do this is by using storage systems that provide the maximum amount of storage while taking up the least amount of space. The best way to do this is with a system like our Spacesaver High-Density Shelving or even our Spacesaver Activrac. Both of these systems consist of moving shelves, allowing more shelving in a smaller area. Since the shelves are able to move back and forth, this eliminates the need for wasted space with aisles in between shelving units.
Sterile products can be placed on these shelves and stored properly according to guidelines. Since you will be getting more storage than regular shelving, products will not have to be stacked on top of each other, risking contamination. It will also make it quicker and more efficient for healthcare professionals to find what they need.
Maintaining a safe and sterile environment is key to ensuring patient safety and recovery. By planning and executing the best and most efficient medical supply storage possible, patients will be receiving the best care and healthcare professionals will be working more efficiently and productively.