Understanding CSSD in a Hospital Environment

What is a CSSD?

Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) is a service unit in a hospital that processes, controls the sterile stores supply to all departments of the hospital. The essentials of this department are correct design, appropriate equipments, skillful operators and a unidirectional work  flow.

CSSD should have these three zones  namely:

  1. Soiled zone
  2. Clean Zone
  3. Sterile Zone

 What are the functions of a CSSD?

To monitor and enforce controls necessary to prevent cross infection according to infection control policies. To establish and maintain sterile processing and distribution standards. To operate efficiently to reduce overhead expense

Activities of the CSSD:

  • Cleaning
  • Disinfection of semi/non critical items
  • Sterilization of critical items
  • Supply of sterile materials

Objectives and Functions:

  • To provide sterilized material
  • Contributing to reduction in the incidence of hospital infection
  • To avoid duplication of costly equipments
  • To maintain record of effectiveness of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization process

What are common Sterilization Techniques?

  • Dry Heat
  • High Pressure Autoclave
  • Ethylene Oxide Sterilization
  • Chemical Sterilization
  • Radiation Sterilization

Some of the salient features of a CSSD module are:

  • Enables admin and operational staff to track and manage the inventory information of items that need to be sterilized in the form of packs/sets or individual quantity to be delivered to OT, pathology labs, ICU, emergency and wards in a hospital
  • Detailed records of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization
  • Implement infection control policy using CSSD module across all departments in a hospital that improves patient safety by enforcing and checking the controls necessary from time to time, to prevent cross infection

Planning a Department: 

The interior design of a CSSD within a hospital is one important task when it comes to infection control matters. To get the best performance, most suitable equipment and best working conditions is a vital task

  1. Physical planning
  2. Functional planning
  3. Personal planning
  4. Equipment planning
  5. Financial planning
  6. Quality control
  7. Preventive maintenance
Central Sterilization and Supply Department


Personnel in CSSD  comprises of a Supervisor who may be a nurse followed by other staff like chief, assistant, technicians, aides, orderlies and messengers that get trained on the job.

Facilities  required for the CSSD:

  • Reception control and disinfection area.
  • Washing and sanitizing carts.
  • Staff changing  room , lockers, toilets.
  • Supervisor’s office .
  • Clean work area required to for preparing special instruments, testing instruments,  equipments, linens, assembling treatment trays and linen packs, and for preparing materials for sterilization.
  • Assembly area required for medical- surgical treatment  packs, sets and trays. Work bench with multiple drawers for instruments and suppliers are necessary.
  • Double door, pass- through autoclaves.
  • Sterile store and adequate space for loaded sterilizer carts.
  • Issue counter .
  • Clean cart storage area.
  • Provision for supply of steam, hot  and  cold water and other utilities and services.