137 - Where Does the Waste Go? Proper Waste Disposal
Description: Medical waste disposal is a continuous concern in health care. Multiple containers are available to ensure proper disposal, but inconsistent use of these containers by caregivers can potentially lead to unsafe environments. Three perioperative educators discovered caregivers at the ambulatory surgery centers had several questions relating to the correct disposable of medical wastes used in their units. Four main waste disposal options are currently available at each site: medication waste (black bins, toilet, sink), biohazard waste (red bags), sharps (red bins), and regular trash. Observational audits and current workflow processes revealed caregivers were not using the containers appropriately. For example, the biohazard bags were filled with regular trash and the sharps containers contained syringes with medication. A quick knowledge assessment was implemented using an interactive game, Waste Against the Clock, to determine caregivers prior knowledge. The education team developed an educational session, teaching plan and poster, brining awareness to the various disposal options and proper usage . Two weeks post education, the assessment using Waste Against the Clock was conducted. Results indicated caregiver awareness of proper waste disposal increased. Understanding the how and why medical waste must be disposed of correctly is crucial to our environment to reduce waste and protect wildlife.