The Source | August 6, 2019

Advice from the Field

SPD techs may not have live patient interaction but we reach patients through the work we put in preparing the trays/instruments used on them in the OR.

Rhaiz, NY

Supervisor of Central Sterile

Why SPDs Need to Track Tray Weights

Author: J. Vincent Sanchez (CRCST), Client Manager

Low back pain is a frequent complaint among your SPD staff. Halfway through the workday, you can count on finding a portion of your staff rubbing their backs and expressing doubt at how many more years their bodies will be able to handle this work. Before worker’s compensation claims start rolling in (or you have to replace a portion of your staff), be proactive: weigh your instrument trays and adjust them for the load weight.

Simplify the Process

Instrument sets are helpful in medical facilities for a variety of reasons. By keeping the right assortment of tools together in one place, well-designed sets can simplify the process of supplying ORs with the exact instrumentation they need for procedures. 

However, instrument sets, or trays, have a tendency to gather an increasing number of instruments over time. Sometimes they start off with more instruments than are necessary. This leads to excess set weight, as well as increased risk of sub-optimal sterilization, and for wrapping items, holes, and damage to the tray wrap when the tray is handled.

Heavy trays contribute to staff fatigue and injury. Even with proper lifting methods (close to the body with a neutral spine, engaged core, driving from the legs), heavy trays can be a hazard to the physical health of SPD staff. And overloaded trays—due to a greater surface area in need of reprocessing—can take longer to steam sterilize and dry. This increases the likelihood of “wet packs” which promote the growth of contaminating bacteria, effectively undoing the sterilization process, necessitating recalls, and creating an increased load on the department.

Performing a Mindful Audit

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) recommends that trays weigh no more than 25 pounds. Because the weight of an individual tray can vary based on where it is in reprocessing, it may be best to keep tray weights even lower than that. Perform an audit of your existing trays and see how their weights vary from before and after steam sterilization to after dry time and the final stage of reprocessing. 

As you evaluate the trays’ weights and what instruments they contain, make sure to involve OR personnel in the process of culling inventory down to the essential instrumentation. Also, as you pack or repack instrument trays, be mindful of how you arrange the instruments: the instruments that have the greatest mass should be placed toward the center of the tray to make the tray easier for personnel to handle.

An instrument tracking system with tray weight tracking can help ensure that your trays stay under 25 pounds—and that they don’t pick up extra weight along the way. If a 20-pound tray returns to the SPD weighing 23 pounds, chances are it’s carrying an instrument that doesn’t belong.

CtUC 2019 Awards: Submit and Save!

Growing together is what has made CtUC so special for us at Censis.  To think we started this conference in a small meeting room on the west side of Nashville, and now we are a partner with over 950 facilities across North America is amazing!  Take a few minutes to learn about our traditional awards and three new awards for 2019; then start preparing your submission!

To kick this off right, we are offering a $50 discount on registration for everyone who submits for a 2019 CtUC Award.  If you have already registered, a credit of $50 will be refunded to your card.  Please contact events@censis.com to confirm your award submission and refund.

Kevin Bevill System Award

Recognizes and honors the spirit of Censis’ beloved Kevin Bevill, who passed unexpectedly in 2013.  Kevin’s “We Can Do This” spirit strongly impacted not only the Censis organization but countless of our clients.

This award is for a System or Group of facilities that have embodied this mentality through a project(s) in the last twelve months.  Projects can be focused on the department, organization, or community.

Submission for the Kevin Bevill System Award should explain how their team advanced at least one of the items below. Data, pictures (before/after), testimonies, or other evidence are encouraged to help identify the 2019 winner.

  • Projects on enhancing Patient Safety
  • Giving back or serving others in the organization or in the community
  • Investment in the team edify their efforts for learning, growing, and patient safety
Kevin Bevill Facility Award

Recognizes and honors the spirit of Censis’ beloved Kevin Bevill, who passed unexpectedly in 2013.  Kevin’s “We Can Do This” spirit strongly impacted not only the Censis organization but countless of our clients.

This award is for a single Facility that has embodied this mentality through a project(s) in the last twelve months.  Projects can be focused on the department, organization, or community.

Submission for the Kevin Bevill System Award should explain how their team advanced at least one of the items below. Data, pictures (before/after), testimonies, or other evidence are encouraged to help identify the 2019 winner.

  • Projects on enhancing Patient Safety
  • Giving back or serving others in the organization or in the community
  • Investment in the team edify their efforts for learning, growing, and patient safety
Mission First (VA/DOD)

Honors a Veteran Affairs or Department of Defense Sterile Processing Department that is continuously building confidence within their organization. The Mission First award highlights teams that use their skills to make sure the mission of great patient care is achieved.

Submission for the Mission First award should explain how their team advanced at least one of the items below. Data, pictures(before/after), testimonies or other evidence are encouraged to help identify the 2019 winner.

  • Continued education and training of their teams
  • Advancing quality improvement
  • Promoting best practices in throughout the perioperative loop
Trailblazer (NEW in 2019)

Innovation is at the core of who Censis is, and we believe in honoring those who share this passion.  The Trailblazer award is meant to acknowledge the person or department using innovative and creative problem-solving to help their organization.

Submission for the Trailblazer Award should explain how their team used data, best practices, or other ideas to improve things around their department. Just a few samples of what a Trailblazer might have done are listed below but this list is not exhaustive.  Data, pictures (before/after), testimonies, or other evidence are encouraged to help identify the 2019 winner.

  • Reducing the number of unused trays going to the OR
  • Using competencies to help with CE management
  • Decreasing the number of incomplete trays and using data to identify missing instruments
  • Use analytics to hold vendors accountable, decreasing late delivery and overdue pick-up
Change Maker (NEW in 2019)

Education is one of the key ways to help the future get better, and the ChangeMaker award recognizes the team or educator who uses unique methods to help their organization.  This award is for an education team or single educator that has embodied this mentality through a project(s) in the last twelve months.

Submission for the ChangeMaker Award should explain how they used data, best practices, or other ideas to improve education methods and team member skills. Just a few samples of what a ChangeMaker submission might have done are listed below, but this list is not exhaustive.  Data, pictures (before/after), testimonies, or other evidence are encouraged to help identify the 2019 winner.

  • Launching new programs
  • Using creative tools to encourage skill improvement
  • Designing fun and innovative activities to teach new skills
  • Using mentorship or train the trainer methods to help grow everyone’s skills
Better Together (NEW in 2019)

"Teamwork makes the dream work" is a saying people hear all the time but there is a big difference between saying it and living it.  The Better Together award is focused on finding a team of people who made a concentrated effort to get outside their own team/department and improve something together.  So many moving parts and teams play a critical role in the perioperative loop, in the end, impacting patient care.  Just a few of the different teams make up this strong unit is SPD, OR, Materials Management, IT, Surgeons, and vendors. 

The Better Together award acknowledges the person or department who is being intentional about improving, process, communication, and relationship with one more team outside their own.

Submission for the Better Together Award should explain how a person or department is being intentional about improving, process, communication, and relationship with one more team outside their own.  Just a few samples of what Better Together might look like are listed below, but this list is not exhaustive.  Data, pictures(before/after), testimonies, or other evidence are encouraged to help identify the 2019 winner.

  • Job shadow exchange programs
  • Sharing reporting, analytics, or other data to reduce costs, OR start times, etc.
  • Performed process improvement projects helping different teams strengthen communication and overall department effectiveness

Deadline for submissions is August 15th, 2019 

"We're going through a phase..."

Check out three emerging technologies impacting low-temp sterilization

Sterilization of medical devices was a revolution in medicine. For the first time, doctors could operate on their patients without fear of causing infection. Now, as sterilization via ethylene oxide is being phased out, new technologies are emerging. Today, we dive into three trending technologies that provide low-temperature sterilization of complex devices.