Archive Orthopedic Surgery 2018

Stemming the Tide of Infectious Fluid Waste

Direct-to-drain options are cost-effective ways to keep your floors dry and your staff safe.

Jeannette Sabatini, Associate Editor


PLENTY OF OPTIONS Brian Wechsler, RN, CNOR, holds the manifold that he uses to connect his hospital's mobile collection unit to several fluid capture devices.

You know who the messy surgeons are in your facility. They're the ones who pump joints full of fluid and have surgical team members wishing they had slipped on rain boots instead of shoe covers as they splash around the OR. You can capture a surgeon's sloppy runoff in open containers and toss the solidified contents into red bag waste, but direct-to-drain options are better ways to keep fluid off the floor. Wall-mounted ports that suck fluid directly into the sewage line or mobile units that collect large amounts of fluid and dispose of it through docking stations will have staff singing your praises instead of feeling like they're singin' in the rain.

Significant savings

Staff are no longer splashing around the OR at Iowa City VA Medical Center in Iowa City now that the hospital is soaking up the benefits of its recent reassessment and revamping how it collects fluid waste. Staff at the medical center had been collecting fluid runoff in standard disposable canisters and then adding a solidifier.

"We were spending a lot of time moving canisters back and forth," says Ann Polking, RN, the facility's OR clinical manager. "Each time we replaced a full canister with an empty one, it took time to move them because the canisters were heavy."

Before diving right in and purchasing mobile direct-to-drain systems for all of its ORs, the medical center trialed a few units in a couple suites.

"We retrofitted the facility to accommodate the docking stations and started using them for different orthopedic procedures," says Martin Jones, the facility's director of green environmental management services. "It didn't take very long before it was very clear that there were clear benefits associated with their use. Orthopedics is a fluid-intensive specialty, so never stop looking for new and better ways to dispose of fluid waste."

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