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Archive March 2016 XVII, No. 3

How Do You Manage Fluid Waste?

Readers reveal what it takes to keep OR floors dry during the messiest procedures.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief


capture fluid runoff DIRECT TO DRAIN Portable units capture fluid runoff without exposing staff to infectious material.

Marlene Brunswick, RN, CNOR, swears by using portable direct-to-drain units to help keep fluid off the floors during shoulder scopes and knee arthroscopies. "It's the best decision I've made in decades," says the director of perioperative services at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. Two-thirds of the 188 facility leaders who responded to our recent survey about managing fluid waste agree that closed, high-capacity mobile units are best for protecting staff from exposure to infectious material, speeding room turnovers between messy cases and keeping the lid on your fluid waste management budget.

The method of choice
Solidifying and disposing of fluid waste remained a manual process at Ms. Brunswick's hospital until she had the opportunity to add mobile units to each of her 22 ORs in exchange for the per-case cost of replaceable manifolds (approximately $15), which prevent cross-contamination by stopping the backflow of fluid already captured in the machine. She also had to invest a small amount of capital into plumbing and construction to add a docking station for the portable units to the hospital's utility room.

To Ms. Brunswick, the investments have been worth every penny. However, her staff took a while to share in the enthusiasm. "They were hesitant to move away from solidifying waste manually," says Ms. Brunswick. "But if I did away with the portable units now, I'd have a mutiny on my hands."

The advantages that swayed her staff are numerous, says Ms. Brunswick:

  • eliminating their exposure to infectious waste;
  • he high-capacity mobile units never run out of space, even during procedures when fluid flows freely; and
  • clean-up at the end of cases is a snap.

"You roll the unit to the docking station, plug it in and pick up an empty unit for the return trip to the OR," says Ms. Brunswick. "It's a simple process."

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