Alternative to plastic bags in healthcare?!?
I am an X-ray tech at a large hospital. For every patient we put our X-ray board inside a large plastic bag to prevent contamination instead of wiping the board down. I suggested only using them when there is a high risk or visible fluids. What other options are there? Is there an alternative that isn’t as wasteful and better for the environment?
All ideas welcome :)
- JasonLv 76 months ago
The first thing you should do is take a proper microbiology course with lab and follow that with an update on infection control. You have some VERY erroneous ideas about what infection control is, how it is practiced, why certain things are done in certain ways, etc.
Let me ask you this: Without getting a culture and looking up the results, how do you know if your patient has C-diff? Hepatitis A? Candida? There is no fluid or drainage from Hepatitis A. It's just a virus on your hands.
Now consider this: You don't see any fluids or drainage from your patient and YOUR MOM is the next one to get an x-ray. Tell me how you explain to her how you know that the person before her did not contaminate that board with viral hepatitis. How do you KNOW that board is not contaminated? Which one will convince your mom to put her skin against that board: Your explanation, or covering the board with a disposable bag?
Infection control is serious business. It is, of course, admirable to want to avoid waste. But you have to do that in context. Your understanding of your context is not good enough for you to declare those bags a waste. They are not. They serve a critical purpose. If you want to improve upon that idea, then the first thing you need to do is gain a more robust understanding of the field of infection control, then apply that understanding in your area. You can't change policy if you don't understand why it exists in the first place. A better idea isn't better if you don't have a true understanding of the idea it's replacing. If you want to come up with a way to get rid of the bags, first understand how and why they do what they do in ALL cases, then ensure your solution does that good a job or better.
There is an entire department in your hospital dedicated to infection prevention and control. If you are really concerned about the waste in your area, talk to them. Your manager is concerned about waste as well. Those things cost money and any solution that can save money while maintaining or improving best practices is welcome. If it can't save money, then it had better do something else that is better than the current practice. If it can't do either, then the bags are staying.
.Source(s): Respiratory therapist (B.S., RRT, RPFT) Working on my master's in nursing
- Anonymous6 months ago
"High risk or visible fluids" hahahaha
You should not be working in the health care field, or you should maybe not assume you know so very much, or you should understand that the tiny bit of waste plastic is not worth infecting someone with somebody else's disease.
Do you know how many high school wrestlers were infected with herpes before people started taking notice of the epidemic? Would you, with your vast knowledge of medicine, recognize a case of shingles, if the patient didn't tell you about it? Impetigo?
- Diane ALv 76 months ago
I agree with other answers, there are extremely strict rules about how surfaces must be covered in healthcare, not many options.
- A HunchLv 76 months ago
This is probably an itty bitty bitty piece of the waste that occurs in hospitals.
For example: individual packets of gauze are used instead of large boxes.
Why don't you look around the common areas - cafeteria, gift shop, etc to see changes that would be much easier implement reduce/reuse/recycle.
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- Casey YLv 76 months ago
Plastic is best...people are unreliable when it comes to sterilization.
- Anonymous6 months ago
The board needs to be kept sanitized. That means you use a disposable cover or you wipe it down.
Wiping it down has it's own environmental issues. It wastes paper towel and you're spraying (breathing) stuff like bleach or some other sanitizer all day long. It's not good for employees and it's not good for patients either. There's also more margin for error when you rely on a person to clean the board each time. And you can't compost or recycle paper towel that has wiped up a medical sanitizer.
Does the bag need to go all the way around the board or could the bags be cut in half to cover the board? Can you get bags that fit the board closely so you're not wasting a bunch of extra bag material?
You may look into whether there is some kind of material that is more environmentally friendly than plastic bags that could be recycled or composted (some kind of coated paper or alternative product?) - however the material may still be considered medical waste and may not be allowed in the compost or recycling.
If this is a large hospital, I'm guessing you're in a large city? Many cities have a government office that is dedicated to helping businesses develop "green" practices. You might want to look into that, but make sure you don't step on any toes at work especially if you are not the decision-maker.
- leeceveLv 46 months ago
You need to use a plastic bag. It's extremely unsanitary to not use one for each patient. I'm all for saving the planet, but when it comes to the health and safety of people there are limits. People are paying good money for their healthcare and they expect all instruments used to be sanitary and uncontaminated. There are no alternatives for this, plastic is the best option.
- paulLv 76 months ago
lmfao . if you were a x-ray teck you would not be here asking this troll question