Sterile Processing

Author(s):
Julie Jefferson, RN, MPH, CIC Director, Epidemiology and Infection Control

Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, RI

Martha Young, MS, BS, CSPDT Consultant

SAVVY Sterilization Solutions
Woodbury, MN

Published:
October 3, 2014

Abstract

Sterile processing is the area most often responsible for reprocessing and sterilizing instrumentation and other reusable medical devices. The process involves handling, collecting, transporting, sorting, disassembling, cleaning, disinfecting, inspecting, packaging, sterilizing, storing, and distributing reprocessed items. The goal is to provide safe, functional, and sterile instruments and medical devices to reduce the transmission of pathogenic organisms from patient to patient and to reduce the risk for surgical site infection. This chapter offers the infection preventionist an introduction to the numerous processes that take place in sterile processing and provides access to resources, published recommended practices, standards and guidelines, and industry standards. The chapter also offers suggested readings to expand the infection preventionist's knowledge of current concepts and practices in sterile processing.