Hotel staff exposed to clinical wastes

Some time ago, University College Hospital London initiated a scheme whereby early discharge of patients saw them transferred to a nearby hotel to facilitate on-going care.

It’s a sensible cost-saving measure that is used elsewhere in the UK. It is particularly common in the US where bed costs for hospitalisation can be astronomical and it is there that the medical insurance companies had first developed this approach.

But there are problems. It is reported from the US that at the Wyndham hotel, close by Massachusetts General Hospital and where many patients are transferred for continuing care, are finding worrying large amounts of clinical wastes in guest/patient bedrooms.

Detail of exactly what is found are limited, though the report say they’re being exposed to used syringes, blood, vomit and other bodily fluids while cleaning rooms.  That is of concern, and it would be interesting to know if this is noted more frequently in rooms of ex-hospital guests/patients than in others.

It might suggest poor standards of hygiene and safety performance by the hospital staff caring for these patients. Equally, syringes and needle finds are not uncommon in hotel bedrooms and most housekeepers will have access to a sharps container – look out for them, attached to the housekeepers’ carts and wonder just how clean and safe is your room!

As for blood, vomit and other body fluids, we might consider all of those boozy hotel guests overdoing their expense accounts or imbibing throughout a reception or other function, sometimes exercising their fists more effectively that their brains!  Regrettably, that too is not uncommon. However, we should keep an eye on this and as far as is practicable seek some hard and comparative evidence as to source of these finds. If this is related to healthcare transition then the full weight of the law, in this case H&S and other regulatory law, should be brought to bear in order to protect hotel staff.

Hotels must ensure proper training of their staff in managing biohazardous and sharps wastes, to develop effective policies that ensure that all incidents are reported, and that exposed staff receive without delay urgent care and assessment at a suitable hospital emergency department. COSHH reporting may be appropriate.



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