A work in progress: An area of the CSPS department in the Lunder Building currently under construction
Each day MGHers use hundreds of types of surgical and procedural instruments and supplies to treat patients. These sterile items are prepared daily by a team of specially trained employees of MGH Central Sterile Processing and Supplies (CSPS), formerly known as the Sterile Processing Department.
"Many people don't realize how busy the sterile processing department is, says Adel Afridi, director of Sterile Processing. "More than 100 staff members, each having a special skill set, prepare the instruments and supplies for up to 70 procedural and operating rooms representing approximately 13 specialties -- such as orthopædics, transplant surgery, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology."
This summer CSPS will relocate from the White and Gray buildings to a new 25,000-square-foot space on the lower level of the Lunder Building. The department will be designated into four distinct areas for its operations. These include zones for items to be received, sorted and washed; prepared, inspected and assembled into instrument kits for case carts, which are pushcarts that include all of the sterile supplies for a specified procedure; sterilized based on type; and finally stored prior to distribution.
"There are different cleaning methods for different types of instrument kits," says Joanne Ferguson, RN, staff specialist. "For example, we have machines that will wash, disinfect and sterilize instruments. After instruments are washed and decontaminated, they are sent to an assembly area, where they are put back together by hand and packaged. The packages are then sent through sterilizers. At the new building, we also will have case cart washer systems, which are like giant, 80-square-foot dishwashers."
When the sterilized case carts and instrument kits are ready, Lunder Building CSPS staff will transport the items by way of a dedicated pathway to the operating rooms. Three elevators and elevator bays will be used to maintain this dedicated pathway specifically for sterile supply distribution. "To help manage the sterile processing system, the department is implementing a new instrument tracking system, as well as a new case cart system to facilitate efficient delivery of supplies and instrumentation for procedures," says Afridi.
Adds Ferguson, "During the design phase of the sterile processing area, the safety of our patients and workforce was our focus. We made investments in ergonomics to promote staff comfort to not only help prevent repetitive-use injuries but also to enhance the workflow."
Other amenities at the Lunder Building are a CSPS staff training room, break room and dedicated staff workspaces. For more information about the Lunder Building, access www.massgeneral.org/lunderbuilding.