Proper waste segregation in long-term care facilities is one of the greatest challenges for these and many other healthcare facilities. A long-term care facility may be defined as different things such as a senior living community, an assisted living facility, a skilled nursing facility, a rehabilitation center, or a hospice care facility. Any of these types of long-term care facilities generate the same type of healthcare waste as a hospital.
Properly segregating medical waste is critical to maintain a safe environment for staff and patients, to meet environmental requirements and to prevent drug diversion and the misuse of drugs. Waste segregation in long term care is critical due to the many types of healthcare waste such as:
- Red bag medical waste
- Infectious medical waste
- Biohazard waste
- Pharmaceutical waste
- Controlled substance waste
- IV tubing and acute care products
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Segregating these types of waste in addition to COVID-19 byproducts requires a robust waste segregation plan, along with comprehensive employee training and enforcement practices. Most of the waste generated in long-term care facilities is nonregulated, while the remaining falls into the category of regulated medical and hazardous waste. This includes various categories such as sharps, pharmaceuticals, and biohazardous products.
All healthcare staff must properly segregate waste in long-term care facilities with the proper procedures in the right types of containers. This is necessary for safe handling and appropriate management of waste to mitigate risk.
Sharps Disposal – all sharps waste must be discarded in a labeled sharps container. This includes needles, syringes, glass vials, and scalpels to reduce the risk of puncture and exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
Red Bag Waste Disposal – regulated medical waste other than sharps should be discarded into an RMW container lined with a red bag for medical waste. Staff must be careful to not discard any sharps in this container as any wet or leaking red bags will not be accepted by a medical waste hauler.
Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal – pharmaceutical waste includes any expired, unused, or leftover medication that may no longer be needed for various reasons. In long-term care facilities, patients can change medications, unfortunately pass away, or leave rehabilitation facilities to go back home. All of this leftover medication must be properly disposed of to prevent drug diversion, or contamination to the environment.
Prior to current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, many long-term care facilities simply discarded of pharmaceutical waste by flushing down the drain. This is no longer allowed and a safe drug disposal system should be implemented for any long-term care facility. Pharmaceutical waste disposal systems like Rx Destroyer™ offer a solution to long-term care facilities for safely and properly disposing of pharmaceutical waste.
Controlled Substance Waste Disposal – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulates controlled substances, drugs that are organized by schedules based on the risk of abuse or harm. The DEA requires specific controlled substance waste disposal requirements to prevent drug diversion, a leading contributing factor to the opioid epidemic in the United States. Quick and effective drug disposal of controlled substances in long-term care facilities helps to prevent drug diversion.
Rx Destroyer™ for Long-Term Care Facilities
Rx Destroyer™ provides a solution for long-term care facilities as a safe and easy to use drug disposal system. Rx Destroyer™ is available in a wide range of sizes to meet the needs of many types of healthcare facilities including long-term care.
C2R Global Manufacturing, Inc. is the maker of Rx Destroyer™ and offers product education training, free compliance consultations, industry best practices, and free samples. Our mission is to save water and save lives, one prescription at a time. Contact us to learn more about waste segregation in long-term care facilities and for safe and simple drug disposal solutions.