Single Use Sterilization Pouches: Little Things Matter
Noel Kelsch, RDH, RDHAP, AS, BS, is an international speaker, writer, and researcher. As a registered dental hygienist, she maintains a private dental hygiene practice, and devotes much of her work life to the underserved in public health and hospice environments.
Kelsch is the infection control columnist for a national magazine, and feels strongly about the need to properly manage infection control in the dental office. “We never want to bring a patient into an office, then be the ones that make them sick,” she says, especially while performing procedures meant to treat and prevent oral disease.
Kelsch stresses that, when it comes to infection control, “sometimes it’s the small steps that makes the big difference.” Infection control, she says, is a series of steps needed to ensure the safety of staff and patients. She describes the basic steps for sterilization as: (1) transport; (2) clean, utilizing an automated system as much as possible; (3) rinse and dry; (4) package; (5) sterilize for a complete cycle; and (6) store.
A sterilization pouch is a medical device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.1 Its profile includes that it must allow penetration of the sterilant, and provide protection against contamination during handling and storage.2 A properly used sterilization pouch will, therefore, provide an effective barrier against contamination until reuse.
Kelsch maintains that among the pouches on the market, the PeelVue Sterilization Pouch from KerrTotalCare takes that technology a step further.
1. It is a self-sealing paper/clear plastic pouch that provides good visibility to the procedural instruments, the code rings on dental instruments, and the internal process indicators.
2. Its Closure Validators are guiding arrows that provide a visual guide to achieve a properly sealed pouch, and are designed to prevent contaminants from re-entering the pouch.
3. A wide adhesive flap easily folds at the perforation to assure a uniform fold-and-seal action.
4. Non-adhesive edges allow for easy peel, with or without gloves.
5. Internal and external indicators assure the sterilization process has occurred.
6. Thirteen sizes accommodate the needs for instruments and/or cassettes and the sterilization equipment.
7. PeelVue Sterilization Pouches are color-coded to easily differentiate sizes and easily facilitate reordering.
8. Lead-free inks allow disposal of PeelVue Sterilization Pouches in unregulated trash.
Kelsch notes that infection control is a core value of Kerr TotalCare. The company’s philosophy is to help create a safe, comfortable environment for the clinician and the patient. With this in mind, she offers the following hints for correctly using PeelVue Sterilization Pouches.
1. Pouches are designed for single use; do not reuse.
2. Allow the pouch to dry before removing from sterilizer to prevent wicking of pathogens.
3. Store pouches in an undisturbed place that is cool and dry.
1. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, American National Standards Institute. Good hospital practice: steam sterilization and sterility assurance. ANSI/AAMI ST46-1993. Arlington, VA: Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, 1993.
2. Rutala WA, Weber DJ, Healthcare, Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization, in Healthcare Facilities, 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/pdf/guidelines/Disinfection_Nov_2008.pdf. Accessed September 17, 2015.
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