Joint Commission calls for more education on the use of packaged sterile supplies

The Joint Commission has issued guidance to help prevent healthcare professionals from using packaged sterile supplies and devices that are expired or compromised. 

Using commercially prepared sterile supplies that are not appropriate for use poses risk of infection and other harm to patients, the quality improvement and patient safety group said. 

"Over the past few years, we have found that many healthcare professionals do not have the proper training to recognize if packaged sterile supplies are appropriate for use," Diane Cullen, MSN, RN, associate director of The Joint Commission's Standards Interpretation Group, said in a June 28 statement. "This is concerning because the packaging includes many symbols, which represent critical information about how the item should be used, stored and reprocessed." 

In a Quick Safety advisory, the group recommended healthcare organizations educate staff on the labeling used for packaged supplies and devices and when a commercially prepared sterile device would be inappropriate to use, among other action items. 

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