Designing the ideal sterilization center

In a recent post, we talked about advancements in sterilization and the importance of following modern sterilization standards for the health of patients, and for the success of your practice. A well-designed sterilization room can make it simple and easy to follow cleaning procedures while increasing space and time efficiencies. If you’re considering updating your sterilization room as part of a remodel or new build, here are some important things to consider.

Because staff members are visiting the sterilization center continuously throughout the day, carrying dirty and clean instruments back and forth, one of the most important elements of the sterilization room is that it needs to be in a centralized location that is as convenient as possible to reach from each of the treatment rooms. For example, in a practice with a long hall of treatment rooms, it would be inconvenient to place the sterilization center at the end of the hallway. Instead, placing it halfway between treatment rooms creates efficiencies of both time and energy.

As the hub of activity in a clinical space, it’s also important to have plenty of counter space, cabinetry and walking space within the sterilization center to accommodate staff members. Vertical cabinets and well-placed drawers make the space user-friendly.

Separate passages entering and exiting the space can improve workflow so that staff members don’t cross paths or have to wait to get in and out of the doorway. For smaller practices, an open space such as an alcove off the hallway can be turned into a clean, sleek sterilization center. This can be a positive, as it allows patients to see that a thorough, organized cleaning process is taking place.

The design of the space should be organized with visual cues such as colored lights, to make sure there is no cross-contamination. A safe workflow is created by organizing dirty trays, waste drops for trash and sharps, ultrasonic cleaners, the sterilizer and storage so that instruments move from dirty to clean in a streamlined process.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your sterilization center or your entire practice, the first step is to talk to your Patterson representative who will connect you with the office design team. For an existing practice, an equipment specialist will spend time at your practice evaluating your current process to determine what improvements could be made. Your office design team will ensure that OSHA safety guidelines are followed and that the space allows your team to follow sterilization procedures efficiently and effectively.

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