Relocation for renovation: a makeover for the hospital’s reprocessing department

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Relocation for renovation: a makeover for the hospital’s reprocessing department

Toronto, March 24, 2016

By Rebecca Goss

Joy Allen assembles a small surgical set for ophthalmology
Joy Allen, an MDRD technician, assembles a small surgical set for ophthalmology. (Photo by Yuri Mararov)

Big changes are coming to the Medical Device Reprocessing Department this spring as part of St. Michael’s 3.0 redevelopment project.

The MDRD, located in the B1 level of the Cardinal Carter Wing, is the hospital’s only medical device reprocessing and issuing centre. It cleans and sterilizes medical devices and equipment from all areas of the hospital, from the operating room to the catheterization lab, and ensures each item processed meets all infection prevention and control, occupational health and safety and CSA standards.

After a medical procedure, soiled medical devices and equipment are transported to the MDRD by the hospital’s Environmental Services team, where they are first decontaminated. In this part of the department, negative air pressure is used to prevent airborne contamination from flowing to the clean and sterile areas. Staff must also wear personal protective equipment that meets CSA and IPAC standards.

All medical devices and equipment are then inspected, tested for functionality and wear and tear, assembled into sets and trays and sterilized. Rigorous protocols are in place to ensure these items leave the MDRD sterile, including ensuring that temperature and humidity are monitored in the department at all times.

Given how crucial the MDRD is to hospital operations, it’s imperative the department runs smoothly. This spring the department will begin a 12-month renovation to improve work flow and ensure the area meets all building codes and standards. Some autoclaves, which use steam to sterilize medical devices and equipment, are more than 40 years old and will also be replaced as part of the upgrade.

Facts about the MDRD:
  • Reprocesses 250,000 medical devices and equipment annually
  • 39 full-time technicians, nine part-time/casual technicians and six administrative staff
  • The department is open 24-7
  • One surgical tray takes about 10 to 15 minutes to assemble
  • Multi-layered set of medical devices can weigh up to 10 kilograms

During the renovation, the MDRD will be relocated temporarily above ground in the courtyard north of the historic Bond Street entrance in a mobile reprocessing centre – basically, an MDRD on wheels. The trailer, built specifically for St. Michael’s, will connect to the hospital and allow MDRD staff to continue to provide sterile medical devices and equipment for the hospital’s clinical needs. The trailer will arrive in April and following two weeks of training for staff, will be used as the hospital’s sole reprocessing centre until renovations are complete in early 2017.

“We are optimistic,” said Stephenie Naugler, manager of the MDRD. “It will be worth the wait.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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