Disposables & Reusables

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December 2020
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New recommendations issued for instrument care and cleaning

New recommendations developed from evidence-based research have been added to AORN’s Guideline for Care and Cleaning of Surgical Instruments. Several of these changes will have an impact on the quality of processing in sterile processing (SP) areas. This latest version, released on October 12, 2020, includes industry changes that have…

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By: Susan Klacik, BS, CRCST, ACE, CIS, FCS
November 17, 2020
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Reprocessing N95 masks with hydrogen peroxide vapor

Editor's Note This study, led by researchers from Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, Houston, is the first to use hydrogen peroxide vapor (HPV) technology on a large scale to reprocess N95 masks in a healthcare system. The researchers were able to recapture and reprocess 29,706 N95 masks using HPV, with…

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By: Judy Mathias
October 22, 2020
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Faulty bronchoscope reprocessing raises risks of infection transmission

Preventing infection transmission has been a chief concern of healthcare leaders and staff striving to protect their patients and themselves from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus poses an insidious threat that includes the possibility of bronchoscopy-associated transmission of COVID-19. Long before the pandemic, epidemiologist and researcher Cori…

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By: Judith M. Mathias, MA, RN
October 21, 2020
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Restoring filtration efficiency after decontamination of used N95 masks

Editor's Note In this study, researchers from India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Israel’s Technion-IIT discover how to recharge used N95 masks after decontamination to recover their 95% efficiency. Also included is a proof-of-concept construction of a battery-operated smart mask. N95 masks are 95% efficient at filtering out 0.3…

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By: Judy Mathias
September 14, 2020
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Defining 'wants' vs 'needs' drives success of instrument standardization

Hospitals nationwide have thousands of unique instrument trays that take up valuable space on their shelves. Many trays are cluttered with rarely used instruments that are there “just in case.” The problem can be particularly acute in large health systems. Across Cleveland Clinic’s multiple locations in northeast Ohio, for example,…

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By: Judith M. Mathias, MA, RN
June 17, 2020
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Is your SPD ready for a post-COVID world?

While responding to demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, perioperative leaders are busy preparing staff and departments for life after the initial shock subsides. Chief among their preparations are strategies to address the glut of demand for surgery due to postponement of elective and nonessential surgical procedures. Naturally, many focus on…

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By: Derrick Bransby, MBA
June 17, 2020
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Device safety depends on routine cleaning, maintenance

Routine cleaning and maintenance of the equipment used to process medical devices is important to prevent contamination of medical devices. This article will discuss the required cleaning and maintenance in a sterile processing department (SPD) as well as the guidelines and regulations that inform these practices.   Environmental issues Recommendations…

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By: Susan Klacik, BS, CRCST, ACE, CIS, FCS
May 12, 2020
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Heating could be best way to reprocess N95 respirators

Editor's Note This study from Stanford University tests five methods for disinfecting N95 masks and finds that heating them preserves their filtration efficiency for 50 cycles of disinfection. In the study, instead of analyzing N95 masks, which were needed by healthcare workers, the researchers examined pieces of the fabric used…

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By: Judy Mathias
May 7, 2020
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OSHA issues guidance on reuse, decontamination of N95 respirators

Editor's Note The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on April 24 issued interim guidance on the reuse and decontamination of N95 and other filtering-facepiece respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA notes that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified research that suggests the following methods…

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By: Judy Mathias
April 29, 2020
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Surgeons help create process for disinfecting, reusing N95 masks

Editor's Note In this study from BJC HealthCare and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, a multidisciplinary team that included surgeons created a new process for disinfecting and reusing N95 masks, using vaporized hydrogen peroxide. The process allows healthcare workers (HCW) to reuse masks up to 20 cycles, and…

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By: Judy Mathias
April 28, 2020
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