The Christmas and New Year holidays are almost upon us and for many a few days rest will provide a welcome break. For others, however, the ill, infirm and the incontinent, times will not be so happy.
Whether in hospital or at home, care is still required. Clinical and other wastes will therefore accumulate, and it will be a practical challenge to manage these safely and effectively while collections are reduced or rescheduled.
In hospitals, this should not present too many problems although cleaning staff and porters/waste handlers still want their holiday and some compromise may be necessary. Likewise, those working for the waste management companies will expect a break and they too may provide a somewhat reduced service, relying perhaps on a lower rate of waste accumulation and receipt to provide a buffer against storage issues.
For those having their healthcare delivery at home, perhaps with assistance from community nurses and care assistants, things won’t be quite so easy. Longer gaps between waste or soiled linen collections can create real problems. Almost every Local Authority will advertise altered domestic waste collections, on their web site, with adverts in local free sheets, and perhaps through direct leafleting. Making householders aware of changed collection days helps everyone, though it rarely happens when it comes to informing clients about alterations to clinical waste/soiled linen collections. So, it’s Christmas cheer to Manchester City Council who have put details on their web pages of changes to clinical waste collection changes throughout the festive period.
It’s a great start, and an important one at that since web pages are now a key communication tool. But clients need written information too, since one might imagine that many domiciliary patients are not particularly au fait with the intricacies of the world wide web.
Hopefully, care services will be properly coordinated, to make sure that carers attend at the time and on the appropriate day in order to place wastes outside for collection, otherwise it will all go pear shaped.
And let up hope other local authorities and others can manage their services as effectively, and keep their clients informed. If not, healthcare wastes will accumulate, generally in the wrong place. But don’t expect to see a regulator!