Best Practices Audit Check List
The Sterile Processing Department (SPD) plays a major role in patient safety and
its importance cannot be overestimated. This role takes knowledgeable, responsible people and a workplace that facilitates
effective and efficient processing to properly perform these tasks. Thus, it is essential that Perioperative Nurses, Infection
Preventionists (IP) and Risk Management understand and support the roles and responsibilities of SPD for the sake of safe
Clinical practices and infection control guidelines continue to be developed as we gain understanding of the risk
factors and strategies for prevention of infections. Technology is changing the way procedures are performed as well as how
instruments, equipment, and supplies are reprocessed. Published professional recommendations for cleaning, disinfecting,
sterilizing, sterile storage, environmental cleaning, and facility design, and personnel considerations should be strictly
followed with adherence to policies and procedures closely monitored.
The efficacy of any sterilization process
depends on four phases:
- a consistent system for lowering
and limiting bioburden before sterilization,
- properly preparing
items for sterilization,
- selecting the appropriate sterilization
- establishing and implementing controls to
maintain the sterility of sterilized items until they are used.
These steps are critically interdependent, and each must be accomplished effectively and efficiently to produce and
maintain a sterile product.
The delivery of sterile healthcare
products for use in patient care depends not only on the efficacy of the sterilization process itself but also on the following
- a) efficient facility design,
- b) proper training of personnel,
- c) good infection prevention and control practices designed to prevent health-care-associated infections,
- d) effective quality controls and process improvement systems that encompass all
aspects of device reprocessing from point of use through sterilization to reuse, and
- e) appropriate documentation and reporting practices that enable traceability of each facility-sterilized medical
device to the patient on whom it was used.
Critical aspects of infection prevention include proper reprocessing procedures
and sterility maintenance. Facilities should perform routine audits for all reprocessing and sterilization areas.
These audits should be conducted by the SPD manager and Infection Prevention and Control professionals.
The Sterile Processing Best Practices Audit Check List contains important
issues to monitor based on recommendations from The American National Standards Institute, (ANSI), and The Association for
the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), the Association of periOperative Nurses (AORN) and the Centers for Disease
For a copy of the check list, click on
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