Central Sterile Processing and Distribution
In order to complete its mandate, the Central Sterile Services Department or CSSD should be able to both properly sterilize various types of medical equipment and distribute them in a timely manner across the different hospital units.
There are two different steps, both overseen by a corps of certified sterile processing and distribution technician.
There are usually two units within the department — the CSSD sterilization process is done within the central unit, while the storage and distribution processes are contained within the peripheral unit.
The process of the CSSD department in hospital or other health institutions are commonly divided into the following parts:
This is placed right after the receiving counter. Items are cleaned and soaked if necessary, in order to remove the soil. This is not much different from ordinary cleaning.
This area is in charge with ensuring that items completely dry and safe — any moisture left may compromise the CSSD sterilization processes by providing breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi.
There are different kinds of packaging that may be used in CSSD departments in hospitals and other health institutions. There may be nonwovens, textiles, pouches, or rigid containers.
This is one of the most important parts of the CSSD sterilization process. Sterilization is usually performed by steam, heat, chemicals, or radiation. One must undergo a sterilization process technician training before being able to properly perform this task.
Items that are not yet due for distribution will be stored in the sterile room, which ensures that they will not be contaminated before use. A certified sterile processing and distribution technician should also be able to properly assemble medical equipment for storage.
One of the items tested by the certification board for sterile processing and distribution is the ability of the technician to correctly take orders from different departments and issue them accordingly. Medical consumables should also be replenished periodically.
The CSSD sterilization processes are overseen by a quality assurance team that uses mechanical, chemical, and biological indicators in order to ensure proper sterilization and eliminate the risk of infection.
The Distribution Process
The distribution area of the CSSD is a commonly underrated segment of the department, but it is one of the most important since it allows the entire hospital to benefit from the CSSD sterilization process.
This area contains well-organized cupboards and sterile shelves, as well as racks for each equipment. Trolleys containing instrument trays, as well as other wire baskets and containers.
The distribution area is also the main contact point of the hospital.Using a telephone order process, the different departments ask for the replenishment and delivery of consumables as well as other equipment.
A certified sterile processing and distribution technician assigned to the distribution unit also handles the requisition-order filling, as well as exchange cart inventory to help ensure that there is no back-flow of carts (which can compromise the sterile process).
The sterilization process technician training allows a CSSD member to properly handle the sterile processing and distribution, from start to finish — this allows the hospital or health unit to maintain the contaminant-free environment essential to patient health.