Social role valorisation

The ongoing ‘HIV blood’ scandal inquiry continues and it was noticeable that one witness has spoken of the distress caused to her and her late husband when the clinical waste and sharps bins associated with her husband’s predominantly home-based care had to be left at the door of her home to await collection.

At the end, collection services simply disappeared and ‘stigmatising’ yellow bags of medical waste were left outside their home for weeks after his death. This was but one of many prompts for awkward and embarrassing questions regarding their lifestyle etc simply due to those clinical waste containers.

Regrettably, these issues continue to this day. Irregular and unreliable home collections of clinical and healthcare waste containers will annoy and upset householders. More than this, there can be real distress and loss of social role valorisation due to the message given out by these distinctly marked waste containers.

There may be no alternative in regular use. Discrete secure storage bins in which these wastes can be held in some accessible location, with key access provided to householders and collections staff might be helpful but cannot help everyone including those living in tower blocks and the like, in flats and bedsits, and those with no accessible space at their front door that would require a large locked bin to be wheeled through the house. Not an acceptable solution, especially for the aged and infirm.

But we should all put our minds to something much better to protect the social role valorisation of patients being treated in their own home.

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