Ambulatory Care

How many of you are familiar with pharmaceutical waste management, and also emergency showers in the emergency department?

In the world of pharmaceutical waste there are many locations that usually have waste that needs to be picked up and disposed of properly. Areas like the pharmacy, nursing units, Emergency Room, ICU, etc. Did you know that the ambulances routinely give medication routinely in route to the hospital? They typically generate a small amount of pharmaceutical waste that more often than not get’s mishandled. One simple way to avoid issues with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies is to provide a proper pharmaceutical waste container for the guys and gals that complete your ambulatory care upon the checkout of a particular patient they have cared for (even though it was a short time). The waste you will find could fall into many categories like biomedical waste, hazardous chemical “pharmaceutical waste”, and non – hazardous waste as well. Be sure to include this outlying area usually within the ED as an accumulation area and complete your required inspections and assessments.

The other area typically missed also within the emergency department is known as an emergency shower. Or a decontamination shower “Decon shower”. These showers are used to decontaminate potentially contaminated and contaminated patients as they get admitted to the emergency department. This area is typically drained to an underground storage tank (UST). Now depending on what your wastewater permit allows for discharge you might have to have this tank analyzed and pumped off for disposal prior to allowing for discharge. Another unfortunate use of an area such as this is on occasion in the winter time (if you have snow in your area!) these wheeled gurney’s (hospital beds) which will accumulate sand and salt from the outdoor activities and get cleaned in your Decon shower because it is central to the outside door. Same deal here if your discharge permit has limitations on what you can discharge you might want to look into if this practice is happening at your facility.

As always if you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.