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Archive May 2018 XIX, No. 5

How Do You Manage Fluid Waste?

Consider the safety and efficiency of the options at your disposal.

Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, BSN, RN, CNOR


SAFETY FIRST It's important to consider how well fluid capture solutions limit exposure to infectious waste.

Splashing through fluid waste in the OR can put a damper on your staff's day. Walking in wet shoes is never fun and room turnovers can drag on as they mop up the sloppy mess. Never mind that they're more likely to slip and fall and are at increased risk of exposure to potentially infectious material when the room resembles a flood zone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep floors dry and your staff safe. When the fluid starts to flow they can solidify it, collect it or send it directly down the drain.

A solid choice

Solidifying fluid waste lowers the risk of exposure during the disposal process because the fluid waste remains in the suction canisters. Instead of pouring the contents of canisters down the drain, you simply add the solidifying agent. The waste and the canisters are then discarded as red-bag disposal, or clear bag disposal if the solidifier contains a disinfectant designed to treat the waste.

Solidifying waste doesn't make it completely solid; it turns the fluid into a gel-like substance. Solidifying reduces some exposure risks, but not all — canisters can drop, solidified waste can spill and fluid can splatter when they open the canisters to apply the solidifying agent. Make sure staff wear proper proactive personal equipment when doing so and that they follow instructions for use to ensure they're applying the correct amount of solidifying agent and giving it ample time to take action.

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