The VSZ chose as the venue for its symposium the auditorium of the Middelheim Hospital. This hospital belongs to the Hospital Network Antwerp (ZNA). With its 2 500 beds in 3 general and 6 specialized hospitals spread over the region of Antwerp it is the largest hospital group in Belgium.
The Middelheim Hospital is situated on the outskirts of Antwerp, in the vicinity of the Middelheim Park, which is well known for its beautiful open air sculpture garden.
In his introduction Wim Renders, the president of our society, talked about the importance of good training opportunities for sterilization assistants. In Flanders even ministers and members of parliament have taken an interest in the matter. The question was asked whether their training could be integrated in the regular school curriculum. With reference to the discussion in a number of European countries the president wondered to which extent nurses could provide a surplus value in comparison with members of staff with a technical background.
Jan Wilterdink (UMC St. Radboud, Nijmegen) discussed the involvement, as a user, of the CSSD when sterilization departments are built or renovated. Lots of people often with conflicting interests are involved in the designing, the building and the occupation of the newly built hospital facility. The building process of each CSSD is different, depending on local circumstances. We should also not lose sight of the fact that buildings are static and organisations dynamic. Jan Wilterdink provided an overview of the different phases of a building process, including the input of all the parties concerned. Good communication is of the utmost importance.
The second speaker, Alex De Blok (RTB Van Heugten) continued along the same line. He discussed the lay-out and the design of the CSSD. In his paper he referred to the building norms which are common practice in the Netherlands. Separate routes for personnel on the one hand and for instruments on the other hand are very important. As far as zoning and design were concerned he paid a lot of attention to the importance of good air treatment and pressure hierarchy. He illustrated all this by providing examples of a number of recent building projects.
The third speaker, Mia Vande Putte (nurse-hospital hygiene, UZ Leuven) is in Belgium a highly regarded specialist regarding hospital hygiene. It was her task as a speaker to indicate clearly what the microbiological requirements are concerning surfaces and air in the CSSD. There are no norms in Belgium concerning these matters and internationally too there hardly is any literature available. That is why she took the HACCP-norms as a basis. The question has to be posed whether there is a link between the microbiological status of the CSSD, the quality of the instrument supplied to the provider of the care and the infection risk of the patient. She gave a number of valuable tips about how to achieve the desired norm and how to carry out the measurements. The presentation of the results of a study carried out by the speaker in the CSSD of her hospital provided a lot of concrete material which clarified her argumentation.
The last speaker Wouter Meert (CSSD manager, UZ Leuven) focused on the communication between the CSSD and the operating theatre. After a theoretical explanation about what communication is all about, he zoomed in on the specific problems and circumstances which have as a result that the communication between the CSSD and the operating theatre sometimes leaves much to be desired. He called this a spanner in the wheels. Mutual understanding and a good insight into one another's working environment will have a positive effect on communication. He provided a number of valuable pieces of advice: give the members of staff of the CSSD the opportunity of witnessing a number of surgical interventions, and vice versa: theatre nurses should get to know working conditions and procedures in the CSSD; do not restrict communication to the fixed meetings, also visit your customers even when there are no complaints. To end he mentioned a number of means which could improve communications such as a traceability-system and a quality management system which are drawn up in joint discussions and are approved by both parties.
The symposium was one of the better ones which have been organized by the VSZ in the last years. Both the manner of the presentations and their content were top class.
The presentations are available on the V.S.Z website (http://vsz.wfhss.com/html/conf/be_vsz_conf20080424_lectures_...).