It is imperative to maintain the right conditions for the storage of sterile supplies, surgical instruments, implants, and surgical set-ups. Storing these items in a dedicated space that is climate-controlled sets you up for success while extending supply shelf-life and helping to ensure patient safety.
To begin, a dedicated sterile storage room should be placed in a clean, dry area with minimal foot traffic. The CDC recommends that the walls and ceilings be made of non-shedding materials that can withstand cleaners and disinfectants.
In addition, the ANSI-AAMI ST97 2017 guidelines recommend that shelves be at least 10’’ off the floor, and least 18’’ from the ceiling or sprinkler heads, and 2’’ from outside walls to protect from moisture and debris. If your location does not have the space for dedicated sterile storage, use covered or enclosed racks.
Next, controlling the climate in sterile storage areas will help to mitigate sterile items from becoming compromised. ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170- 2017 Table 7.1 Ventilation of Healthcare Facilities Requirements for Sterile Storage Rooms includes the following recommendations:
Positive Air Pressure Relationship to Adjacent Areas
Minimum outdoor air exchange 2 per hour
Minimum total air exchange 4 per hour
Maximum relative humidity 60%
Temperature 75° F/24° C
Last, follow your facility's standard operating procedures (SOP) for monitoring and documenting the temperature and humidity daily. This SOP should also include directions for what you need to do if your humidity and temperature fall outside of the accepted norms.