Published Sep 11, 2001
And we are shredding paper because.......?
All of our hospital trash goes straight to the incinerator, where does yours go and why is it necessary to shredd papers???
Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
Shredding paper with patient sensitive information is not a new phenomenom here in VA. We have been shredding for years now. There are two methods available depending upon the facilities in the area....1. a large bin emptied daily and taken to an industrial sized shredder by environmental services; 2) small shredders on each unit where anything with a patient name or any other identification is shredded on the spot. The purpose is to protect the confidentiality of the patient and is a JCAHO recommendation. You might even want to invest in a personal shredder for home to shred any paper material with your own identifiers listed. Identity theft is a huge problem right now and you never know who might want a look at your trash.....
We are shredding paper because our incenrator was dismantled about 2 years ago. It did not meet EPA guidelines, so the hospital was faced with the decision to upgrade it to specs, or dismantle. Our haz material is hauled off by some company the hospital contracted. That leaves the paper disposal to the hospital. So, shredding is the answer. Of course the shredder is in a real convienent area-the old part of our hospital that isn't used for anything except to house old furniture and shredders. There have been rats and snakes seen in that part of the building. If I ever see a snake, you can just bring the code cart because I will require a full resusciatation effort. I just thought this shredding thing was a bunch of baloney!!
Incinerators are not an environmentally good idea--I think most are banned in CA. All offices and nurses' stations have a shredder, and we use it. The RNs don't usually do it, ancillary personnel does, but if that's not an option, can you just save all the documents to be shredded, and do them all at once?
If you can see this as a serious pt confidentiality issue instead of just another "dump", it might help.
Management DOES have to spring for a BUNCH of shredders--you shouldn't have to be walking all over the place just to shred a piece of paper.
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