Many medical clinics sterilise their instruments and equipment onsite. To do so, they must comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 4815:2006. This Standard specifies the rules and guidelines for reprocessing reusable instruments and equipment in “office-based healthcare facilities”.
When designing your sterilisation area (or “co-located” sterilisation space) in your medical centre, compliance with this Standard is of course a must. Well-planned storage, lighting and ventilation are also key.
Whether your medical centre is designed with a dedicated sterilisation area, or you choose to co-locate your sterilisation equipment (for example, in a storage room or treatment room), there are a few essential things to take care of.
To begin with, you need sufficient bench space and width to hold required equipment such as your steriliser. Your bench’s surface should also be uncluttered and easy to clean.
You will want to ensure good ventilation and lighting throughout the room. In particular, you should have lighting that minimises shadows over your workbench. This is most easily achieved by using ceiling-mounted lighting. This comes with the added benefit of avoiding workflow obstructions and other OH&S challenges that can accompany lighting mounted on your bench or wall.
Whether or not you have a dedicated or shared sterilisation space, sufficient storage is always a good idea. This helps to prevent the risk of overflow outside your sterilisation area. Workflow-wise, you’ll want to facilitate a clear workflow from “clean to dirty”. For example, incorporating hatches in and out of your sterilisation area.
As the Standard states, “sterilisation is more than simply putting loads through a steriliser. It is a process that begins with prior cleaning of reusable medical devices and equipment and continues through to cycle monitoring and storage ready for reuse.” So when it comes to designing your sterilisation room or area, it’s important to keep this in mind.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has a guide to assist medical practitioners and other staff to implement procedures involving infection prevention and control. You can find it online here.
If you’re considering opening or refurbishing a new medical centre, contact Elite today to discuss your planned fitout.