Updated: Nov 15, 2022
For your peel-packed instruments, it’s a journey. They may get waved goodbye from sterile processing, but they still must travel through the continuum until they are deployed onto a sterile field for use.
Their longest stay is almost certainly on the shelves and in the bins of the OR Core storage areas. Here they will languish in close contact with other peel pouched instruments. Occasionally a nurse will rummage through looking for what they need. The other packages will be handled, crushed, banged against each other, and find themselves at the bottom of the bin under the weight of the other occupants. It’s a rough life.
Storage in a bin is about quality of life. The chance of a micro strikethrough is real. Unstructured packages can look very beaten up when they’ve been rifled through multiple times, and there’s only visualization to guess whether there is a micro-puncture. Integrity becomes a risk assessment.
Instrument protector cards not only optimize sterilization, but they also provide package structure and a greater chance of package integrity being maintained. Because the packages become uniform, they also offer the opportunity for instruments to be stored neatly in the bin. This quality of life means instruments are easier to find, and much less likely to contribute to infection risks.