148 - Humidity in the OR: The Importance of Team Collaboration
Description: An electrical outage impacted the chillers, causing a rapid increase in temperatures throughout the OR and Central Sterilizing Department. The increase in temperature and humidity led to condensation on the floors, equipment, sterile trays and supplies. As a result, supplies and trays were deemed unusable. Supplies required to be pulled from the shelves and trays resterilized. This was being done while simultaneously preparing for urgent, emergent and scheduled surgical cases.In a collaborative effort, staff from multiple departments worked day and night to assist in unwrapping trays and resterilizing every tray in the affected areas. Staff also began pulling the disposable items from affected areas, segregating them until it was confirmed that they were unsterile, based on the manufacturer's recommendations. Other hospitals within the system assisted in delivering vital supplies that were lost due to the compromised nature of the event. With only one of our two OR Departments affected, we were able to prevent the hospital from going on bypass.A team was developed to review the event, prioritize, develop action items, and assist with allocating resources. As a result of the affected areas reaching up to 80% humidity, all trays in CS and OR inner cores were considered now unsterile and were required to be opened and team members from multiple departments began resterilizing based on priority. All supplies were removed from the ORs and CS and the efforts to obtain new product began. OR Team Leaders were pulled to review service specific cases and supplies needed. Meanwhile, we worked with manufacturers to evaluate if the specialty supplies were deemed safe to use, following humidity exposure. All nonemergent cases were canceled and surgeons were informed of their cases being green lighted or requiring to be rescheduled for a later date.As a result of the collaborative efforts amongst the team members, the affected departments were able to have a complete turnaround in less than a week, having all trays reprocessed and supplies restocked. In total 34 cases were canceled out of the 274 case schedule between the event date and the following seven days. No additional elective cases were added to the schedule following the event, until operations were stabilized. In total 10,217 trays and peel packed instruments were processed and just less than 56,000 supplies were reallocated to the OR and CS departments. Overall, the OR and CS departments quickly stabilized within five days post event.Having a plan in place will assist in decreasing the uncertainty in regards to sterility and process follow through. Our institution recovered from the event in less than a week. This was possible due to the collaboration between multidisciplinary groups. Lessons learned from this experience could support a further reduced recovery time and also showcase the importance of a team mentality amongst an interdisciplinary group of staff who all have one end goal in mind.