Let's face it, no one looks forward to a Joint Commission visit when you work in a Sterile Processing Department. I think of them the same way I think of my dentist- extremely necessary but something I never look forward to. When I go to the dentist, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible, and I do NOT want to hear bad news other than maybe I should floss more. On the rare occasion I find out I have a cavity or need a crown, I immediately know that the solution is going to be unpleasant.
Joint Commission readiness is really no different. When you know you are due, you start thinking about all of the possible skeletons lurking in your instrument inventory. One of the most common mistakes that a SPD can make, is having a surgical instrument inventory in poor condition.
Surgical instrument marking tape that is peeling, cracked or improperly applied is a quick way to a citation. Marking tape is a quick and inexpensive implement to assist overworked SPD technicians in keeping instruments straight and in the correct place. The downside... it is easy to become complacent about upkeeping these applications through hundreds of decontamination and sterilization processes.
The 4-Step Tape Inspection Process
But there is hope! By breaking down the tape inspection process into four easy steps (ideally during surgical instrument inspection), SPD technicians can be taught to efficiently spot erronious tape jobs. These instruments can be flagged and removed from service for immediate tape removal and reapplication.
- Identify the condition of the tape- look for peeling, flaking, cracking and discoloration
- Verify the tape is located in an appropriate place on the instrument.
- Confirm that the layer of tape is wrapped 1.5 times
- Visualize that the tape is cut on an angle
When you know what to look for... these steps take very little confirmation time. Do you and your department a favor and make marking tape inspection a priority!
Need some visual reminders to post in your department? You can print off PREZIO Health's handy and FREE tape inspection checklist here: