While there are a few options for storing sterilized instrumentation, the most common is blue wrapped instrument sets. While blue wrap is easy to use and can accommodate almost any size item, it can be prone to ripping, tearing and contamination, so let’s discuss some ways to help ensure the integrity of wrapped instrument sets.
Location, Location, Location
Sterile storage shelving should be place in a clean, dry area dedicated to sterile storage. The storage room should have minimal foot traffic and be climate controlled. According to the ANSI-AAMI ST97 2017 guidelines, wrapped instrument sets must be stored 8’’-10’’ above the floor, at 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 a dedicated sterile storage, use covered or enclosed racks.
There are several kinds of shelving that can be leveraged for sterile storage. Look for shelving units with smooth shelves and rounded edges that will not rip or tear wrapped instrument sets. This could be stainless steel shelves, chrome plated wire shelving with a rounded edge, or shelving that accommodates transport baskets where wrapped instruments don’t have to touch the shelf at all. Wrapped instruments sets should not be stacked on top of each other and should have enough space between them to ensure sufficient airflow.
Be sure to consult the ST97 guidelines as well as your facility's specific guidelines to ensure compliance and patient safety.