Donors make a difference to patient safety

New donor-funded steam sterilizers are now in full use in the Hospital’s Medical Device Reprocessing Department.

Steam sterilizers are the most widely used, reliable, and effective method of sterilization found in Medical Device Reprocessing Departments (MDRDs) of hospitals. When Guelph General’s steam sterilizers were at end of life and in need of replacement, it was our generous donors who provided the funding to purchase new ones.

At GGH, over 93% of all sterilizations performed in the MDRD are completed using steam sterilizers.  This method of sterilization is used on everything from simple reusable instruments such as nurses’ scissors to much more complex instrument sets used during surgical procedures. Monthly, over 15,000 reusable medical items are sterilized using the steam sterilizers.

Steam sterilizers are critical pieces of reprocessing equipment that support the MDRD’s ability to provide safe and sterile reusable medical devices, equipment, and instruments,” explained Jen Ritchie, Manager of GGH’s MDRD. “This equipment is used by various areas throughout the organization, including the Operating Room, Emergency Department, Family Birthing Unit, Ambulatory Care, ICU, and inpatient units.” The Hospital also provides sterilizing service to various community partners including midwives, Homewood Health Centre, and family practices.

Sterilizers are always critically important and have become even more so during the pandemic.  “COVID-19 reminds us of just how quickly and quietly bacteria and viruses can spread,” said Jen. “A suite of brand new steam sterilizers means we can reliably meet the reprocessing needs of the Hospital.”

The replacement sterilizers are the next generation available on the market and provide high capacity with cost efficiency and environmental benefits (for example, they use significantly less energy and water).  Each unit has an advanced control system with touch-screen panels that is much more user-friendly to operate.

To our kind and caring donors, Jen shared these words of thanks, “On behalf of the Medical Device Reprocessing Team, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation for your generosity.  Your contribution supports our continued commitment to patient safety and will have a major impact on our ability to provide the safest care possible to our patients.”