Now and then you get a free weekend that is 100% dedicated to home projects. It seems the more work you do, the more unexpected projects come up. This was the case for me this weekend when my dishwasher unexpectedly stopped working. Unfortunately, I had a full load of dirty dishes that I had to empty and clean manually before they dried, creating more work for myself.
In decontam, there are many instances where work can be very busy and you don't always have the staff or resources to keep up with the work load. When this happens, surgical instruments don't get reprocessed right away. This leaves time for blood and other soils to dry on the instruments, and cleaning them becomes a tougher task. Instrument manufacturers, AAMI, AORN and others generally recommend that decontamination of instruments begin as soon as possible so that organic soils, particularly blood, do not dry. But often this is not possible (this is sometimes called delayed reprocessing).
Unlike my dishes, there is a product that buys more time for washing surgical instruments...it's called the Humipak™.
The Humipak™ consists of a layer of highly absorbent material sandwiched between two layers of waterproof film. To use, place individual instruments, or an entire instrument tray inside the Humipak™, add the specified amount of water to the absorbent layer, and seal with the peel away adhesive strip. This creates a water tight, moist atmosphere that will prevent organics from drying over an extended period of time. Further, the transparent film allows observation of the contents and a list of contents and/instructions can be written directly onto the film. Testing has demonstrated that items will remain moist for up to 3 days, depending upon the type of instruments, and the exact composition of the residue.