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Thursday, May 28, 2015

How to Slash Health Hazard Risks in Hospitals

It’s natural to think of our healthcare establishments as relatively safe places.Whether we’re in for an appendectomy or simply visiting a poorly family member, few of us expect to come to harm after we walk through the sliding doors – but several dangers are stalking the nation’s hospitals.

One of the biggest health risks are hospital-acquired infections (HAI), including pneumonia, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections, with one in 16 people treated in the NHS picking up an infection which can hinder their recovery.

Prof Gillian Leng, the deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “Although there have been major improvements within the NHS in infection control, particularly in relation to Clostridium difficile and MRSA bloodstream infections in the last few years, healthcare-associated infections are still a very real threat to patients, their families and carers and staff.”

So what can be done?

Getting to Grips with Infection Control


According to Tom Sandford, director of the Royal College of Nursing in England, infection prevention and control are vital to ensuring the safety of patients, with every health service organisation urged to make this a top priority.

Additionally, dealing with healthcare waste is equally as important.
While around 80 per cent of waste generated by healthcare activity is general waste, the remaining 20 per cent is hazardous material that may be infectious, radioactive or toxic, which presents a real danger to patients and visitors.

Worldwide, an estimated 16,000 million injections are administered every year, but not all needles and syringes are properly disposed of – but this is an area where healthcare establishments can alleviate risk by hiring the services of a specialist medical waste team.

Indeed, according to statistics from the World Health Organization, high-income countries generate an average of 0.5kg of hazardous waste – sharps, chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc – per bed per day, all containing potentially harmful microorganisms.

Trust the Medical Waste Experts


Clearly, disposing of medical waste is an issue in healthcare establishments around the world.
Worryingly, inadequate training in proper waste management, as well as the seemingly low priority many healthcare establishments give to this issue, not to mention some countries without appropriate regulations, means various health hazards are likely to continue unabated.

By employing a specialist firm to dispose of medical waste, however, healthcare establishments abide by legislation controlling its safe handling and make sure it’s dealt with in an efficient and environmentally considerate manner.

This often involves supplying a range of colour coded disposal bins, as well as training healthcare professionals to segregate waste at source, which should help hospitals reduce the risk of harm to vulnerable patients and concerned visitors alike.

Written by Paul Watson.

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