All Points Medical Waste Blog

Home healthcare: Medical waste disposal

Tips to protect the patient and family

With more and more seniors choosing to age in place, the field of home healthcare continues to grow at a rapid pace. Professionals, including nurses, physician’s assistants and skilled home health aides, care for patients in the comfort of their own homes—a service that often includes administering medication and treatments. But with the increase in this type of medical care spurs a need to ensure that medical waste produced in the home is properly and safely disposed of. Read on for more:

Home-generated medical waste

Many patients who are receiving care in their home also receive medication, including injections for diabetes, vitamin injections, blood collection, intravenous chemotherapy treatments and more. These treatments often involve the use of sharps, as well as gauze, tubing, and many items containing pathogens, blood and infectious fluids. Other waste materials that home healthcare generates include:

  • Used gloves
  • Soiled bandages
  • urinary catheter sets
  • Lab vials
  • IV catheters
  • Tongue depressors
  • Cotton swabs
  • Lancets and glucose strips
  • Medications

Home healthcare professionals are not only tasked with providing the highest quality of care to their clients, but also to ensure that any waste generated in the home is safely disposed of. And just as physician’s offices, hospitals and treatment facilities are regulated by the FDA, OSHA and other local and national governments, home health workers must also abide by these standards.

Managing the waste

As a healthcare professional who works in the home setting, it’s likely that your organization has a set of standard practices for you to follow for properly disposing on waste. If not, there are several routes you can take to manage the waste including:

For sharps:

Place sharps waste in a FDA approved container inside the home

Work with a certified medical waste disposal provider for drop-off sites

Make a container that is leak and spill proof out of thick plastic, with a lid that securely shuts

For medications

Many medications are considered hazardous waste and cannot be discarded in the trash.
Unused meds should be returned to the pharmacy or a local drop off site to ensure safe disposal.

For other materials

Gauze, bandages, tubing and any other materials that contain blood, bodily fluids or other infectious waste need to be placed inside an approved medical waste bag or container. Approved red bags can be dropped off at a local waste collection site or you can work with your organization to ensure safe and adequate disposal.

As home healthcare jobs continue to grow, it’s essential that professionals in the industry practice due diligence when it comes to medical waste disposal. For more information on keeping your patient and the community safe, refer to our blog.

All Points Medical Waste provides waste disposal services for physician offices, treatment centers, clinics, urgent care centers, nursing homes, surgery centers and more. Give us a call today at 772.600.4885 to inquire about how we can serve you.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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