The Medical Centre Leeuwarden in the Netherlands was planning a major renovation of its Central Sterilisation Department, the area of the hospital where all items used in procedures by the hospital’s surgeons and clinical staff are intensively cleaned and sterilised.
Situated in the Friesland area, the hospital is the largest non-university hospital in the country and is one of the its major top clinical centres, offering secondary and tertiary care across its 647 beds and in clinical specialties including pulmonology, cardiovascular surgery and neurosurgery. It serves a population of more than 120,000 people.
Therefore, any closing of the sterilisation department or reduction of its operating capacity – either in terms of hours it could be open or the numbers of items which could be sterilised – would have a major impact on the hospital and those working within in. A solution was needed to ensure the equipment used in surgery at the hospital could continue to be sterilised quickly, effectively and preferably, on site.
A number of options were potentially available to the hospital including sending items off site to be sterilised, building a temporary structure within its own grounds or equipping and repurposing an alternative area within the hospital building.
However, all of these would have a significant impact on both the investment required, the space required and the capacity levels which would be achievable.
The hospital team approached Q-bital Healthcare Solutions to discuss potential solutions which would not involve sending the items to another hospital off site or significant building and infrastructure work at the existing medical centre.
Q-bital worked with one of its suppliers in Europe on the development of a fully mobile central sterilisation unit department which they felt was the ideal solution for Medical Centre Leeuwarden.
The stand-alone facility could be quickly deployed, installed in a place convenient for the hospital and, following use, be quickly decommissioned and moved once renovations were completed.
To create the perfect solution, the Q-bital CSSD mobile unit, which was designed specifically to provide replacement capacity for the cleaning, sterilising and repackaging of surgical instruments, was installed.
The unit provides all required cleaning, sterilisation and repackaging services over a space of just 120m and includes a pre-cleaning station with a built-in ultrasonic cleaner, washer disinfectors and steam sterilisers, packing area, independent plant room, electronic datacentre, staff welfare areas and HEPA filtered environmental air, ensuring it provides a fully clinically compliant alternative to a permanent department.
The unit offered a capacity of approximately 241 DIN trays per day, or 30 per hour which met the hospital’s capacity needs.
The unit is designed to be fully portable by sea, air and road and could therefore be quickly installed at a hospital’s preferred location, in this case in the car park, having no detrimental impact on available clinical or patient care space.
Following a commissioning and testing period which took 10 days, the unit was used on site for 16 hours per day during the week, and 14 hours per day over weekends. Throughout any shift, nine staff worked comfortably in the mobile environment – three in receipt and manual clean, four in the inspection, assembly and packaging area and two in the post-sterilisation room.
The unit was on site for just over six weeks and in that time processed 25,000 DIN trays and packages without any need to send off site.
While it was in use, a standard time for the washing and disinfecting process was 45 minutes, including drying while the sterilisation process took 45-48 minutes per process, including drying.
These timings, along with the capacity the two washers were able to provide, allowed for the processing of 30.24 DINs per hour in the washing and disinfecting process and 11.4 STUs per hour in the sterilisation process.
Once the renovation of the hospital’s permanent sterilisation department was completed, the hospital’s decontamination team was able to simply move operations back to their department while the CSSD was decommissioned and moved off-site.