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Archive January 2019 XX, No. 1

Ideas That Work: Buckets, Not Bags

Eco-Friendly Solution to Storing Patient Belongings


ALONG FOR THE RIDE Not only do plastic buckets provide ample room to store patient belongings, but they also fit nicely underneath stretchers.
Saddle River Valley Surgical Center
STACKING THE DECK The storage buckets stack easily and securely on top of each other should a patient require more than one to store her belongings.

Rather than handing patients a single-use plastic bag to store their belongings, we now give them a reusable blue plastic storage bucket. We have plenty of the 2-feet wide by 4-inches high buckets, which our anesthesia providers use to hold their supplies. They're easy to wipe down and clean after use, and we can use them again and again and again — instead of throwing away thousands of plastic bags a year. As we did with plastic bags, we place the buckets of belongings under the stretcher so that it travels with the patient from pre-op to the OR and then to PACU.

Once patients reach recovery, we place the blue bin on the chair next to the bed so patients can change after they recover. Then, when the patient leaves, we wipe the buckets with a sanitizing cloth. Most patients only need a single bucket to hold their belongings, but we can place a second bucket underneath the stretcher if need be.

Mary McIntyre, RN, BSN, CRCST
Saddle River Valley Surgical Center
Ridgewood, N.J.

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