Can unused wrapped items be re-sterilized reusing the original wraps?
When unused sterile instrument sets are returned from the OR or patient floors our policy is to re-sterilize the sets. Since these were unopened we inspect the wrap to be sure there are no holes, replace the tapes and labeling and re-sterilize the item. One of the OR nurses was helping us the other day and she said that we should not do this and claims the set should be completely reprocessed and new wraps applied. I think it would be a waste of money and time to throw away perfectly good wrap, etc.
It is not an acceptable practice to do what you are doing. Your OR nurse is correct. Unused sets that require re-sterilization must be completely broken down and run through the full reprocessing cycle. The disposable wraps you are using are single-use devices, which means they cannot be reused, reprocessed or re-sterilized. Doing so would be in violation of FDA regulations.
Ray Taurasi is Eastern Regional Director of Clinical Sales and Services for Healthmark Industries. His healthcare career spans over three decades as an Administrator, Educator, Technologist and Consultant. He is a member of AORN, AHA, SGNA, AAMI and a past president of IAHCSMM and has served on and contributed to many national committees with a myriad of professional organizations, manufacturers, corporations and prestigious healthcare networks. Taurasi has been a faculty member of numerous colleges teaching in the divisions of business administration and health sciences. In addition to this column he has authored several articles and has been a featured speaker on the international scene.