Tuesday 16 February 2016

Managing medical waste at nursing homes

Posted by at 8:00 AM

Managing medical waste at nursing homes

Did you know that long-term care facilities are some of the biggest producers of medical waste?

Residents at nursing homes generally require more medication than hospitals, veterinarian clinics and other medical facilities. While some wastes may be hazardous or non-hazardous by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, it’s important to understand what is being generated, and what federal and state regulations apply.

With 75.4 million Baby Boomers expected to live longer as of 2015, this amount of waste is only going to increase. Because of this, employees at long-term care facilities need to focus on and develop drug disposal programs.

Why effective drug/pharmaceutical disposal programs in long-term care facilities are important:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation mandates specific guidelines on how to properly get rid of hazardous drug waste.
  • The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services check to see if organizations are compliant with regulations during onsite surveys.
  • Effective programs guarantee that necessary material is included in your facility’s pharmaceutical waste stream.
  • Without a strong program, an organization runs the risk of pharmaceutical waste accidentally ending up with other medical refuse, raising the likelihood of environmental issues.

Tips for a strong drug/pharmaceutical disposal program:

  • Use the EPA’s list of monitored drugs.
  • Know what your state considers hazardous drugs.
  • Make sure your staff is trained.
  • Try to cut the amount of unused medication thrown out.

You can enhance safety for everyone while helping the environment with a good disposal program. Learn more about how LB MedWaste can help support your long-term care facility’s hazardous drug disposal efforts.