Being Eco-Friendly in the Cath Lab: A Nurse’s Perspective
Estelle Myny, a nurse at Jacques Cartier Hospital in Massy, France, recently presented her innovative approach to environmental responsibility in the catheterization laboratory at the European Days of the French Society of Cardiology. The focus was on maintaining sterility while minimizing waste production.
Reducing Waste in Angioplasty Procedures
Angioplasty procedures involve the use of expensive sterile medical devices that have a significant environmental impact. Myny and her team recognized the need for more sustainable practices that are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective, particularly in managing waste.
They discovered that not all waste generated in the lab needs to be classified as infectious waste requiring special disposal. By adopting new practices that prioritize the disposal of heavily blood-soaked materials, they were able to significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in high-temperature incinerators. This shift in mindset has led to a substantial decrease in hospital waste production at their facility in Massy, where 130 tons of waste are generated daily.
Adapting Angioplasty Procedures for Sustainability
Myny and her team also made changes to the angioplasty procedure itself to minimize waste generation. They redesigned surgical fields to be lighter and thinner while maintaining their effectiveness. Similarly, they reassessed the use of compresses and needles during procedures, opting to add sterile materials as needed instead of disposing of excess supplies.
Disposable garments were replaced with cloth alternatives to reduce waste production, and staff were encouraged to reevaluate the use of absorbent compresses to avoid unnecessary waste. By following the principle that good waste is non-waste, they were able to make significant progress in waste reduction.
Energy Conservation and Waste Sorting
In addition to waste management, Myny emphasized the importance of energy conservation in the cath lab. Turning off cath labs, computers, and ultrasound devices at the end of the day can have a positive impact on reducing the lab’s ecological footprint. She also highlighted the need to address overpackaging and improve waste sorting practices to minimize unnecessary waste generation.
Engaging All Stakeholders in Sustainability Efforts
Myny stressed the importance of involving all staff members, including cleaners, porters, and technical service agents, in sustainability initiatives. By creating a culture of conscientious waste sorting and encouraging continuous education and training on eco-friendly practices, the team at Jacques Cartier Hospital is working together to reduce their environmental impact.
While significant progress has been made in reducing waste in the cath lab, Myny acknowledged that challenges remain, particularly in finding sustainable solutions for medical glassware disposal. Addressing issues like preventing liquids used in procedures from contaminating groundwater will require continued innovation and collaboration within the healthcare community.
In conclusion, embracing sustainable practices in the cath lab is not just a personal responsibility but a collective effort that can have a lasting impact on the environment. By working together and continuously seeking new ways to reduce waste and conserve resources, healthcare professionals can make a positive difference in the fight against environmental degradation.