5 Important Steps in Using Self-adhesive Sterilization Pouches
by dewi susanti
Sterilization pouches are medical devices that bear the approval of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). These pouches are essential in control of infection. However, a series of proper steps have to be followed in using them in order to ensure safety of both patients and staff.
The steps are as follows:
The First Step
In this stage, the perforation of sterilization pouches should first be folded back. Then form a crease while keeping the protective strip in place. Thereafter, fold it back into its original place.
The Second Step
Using a pen with non-toxic, indelible ink or lead-free pencil, write the time, date and load number on the outside surface of sterilization pouches. By doing this, you will have a way of easily identifying specific pouches and pulling them out quickly, in case of failed load reports. Additionally, you should also record the date, load type, and number on a sterilization notebook.
The Third Step
At this stage, you should wear utility gloves, as well as other equipment for personal protection. Moreover, the instruments to be loaded into the sterilization pouches must be debris-free, having been passed through sonic cleaners. Fill the pouch with these instruments, but avoid overfilling (only 3/4 of the total volume should be filled). Therefore, the exact pouch size must be selected for each instrument, which also avoids piercing the package.
In this procedure, make sure not fold the bag for small items, since folds and gaps will affect proper sealing. Also take note never to wear gloves before opening the pouch, otherwise your gloves will get affected by contaminants from the pouch’s outer surface. Touching the instruments using such contaminated gloves will negatively affect their sterile surface.
The Fourth Step
This fourth step involves a simple, but crucial stage of expelling excess air from the pouch’s interior. This is necessary in further safe-guarding the sterile internal environment within the pouch.
Its important to remember that the exterior of sterilization pouches is exposed to contaminants, unlike the interior that is sterile. Therefore, whenever opening a bag, you should let the instruments ‘drop’ onto a tray, rather than picking them out by hand. This helps avoid cross-contamination from the outside, since your gloved hands would have touched the pouch’s exterior. Similarly, a pouch should not be placed on any instruments.
The Fifth Step
After placing all instruments within a pouch, you can then remove the protective strip on the adhesive and fold along the perforated line. To further ensure a tight seal, press on the adhesive fold by running a spatula edge or any flat item on the area.
By folding along perforation lines, the adhesive will stick to 50% paper and 50% plastic. This creates a good, airtight seal. Therefore, avoid folding beyond the perforation lines.
Following these 5 important steps in use of sterilization pouches will: hinder microbial penetration; prevent contact contamination while handling instruments and maintain sterility of sterilized instruments. This has an overall effect of controlling infection, as well as preserving the safety of both patients and staff.
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