Made in order to replace the nappy, diapers are washable or disposable absorbent underpants. The first diapers were created and sold in 1961.
HEALTH CARE CONTEXT
Health care facilities use a large amount of disposable diapers, especially in retirement facilities, long-term care, hospice, intensive care, and neonatal units. In hospitals, diapers represent about 3.5% of all waste material; in retirement residences, they represent about 40% of all waste material. Because they are not reused, diapers are considered final waste and represent a significant fraction of landfill/disposal costs.
- Quantities by department?
- Do you know the generated quantities per year?
- Do you know if you currently recover (reuse, recycle) this material?
- In what containers do you store this material?
- How many containers do you have?
- Where are they on the health care facility?
- What do you do when containers are full?
- Are the containers freely provided by your supplier?
- Do you know what supplier currently collect this material?
- Did you sign a contract with this supplier?
- Do you know the terms of the contract?
- Are there some costs implied by the contract?
- Have you ever done some unexpected visits to your supplier?
- Do you know where is the material sent after leaving your health care facility?
- Do you demand an annual balance to know a about the precise future of the material (traceability)?
- Have you made a procedure to ensure standardization and continuity of the collection system that you have implemented?
PROJECT EXAMPLE: LANGE BLEU
For 12 weeks in 2013, Lange Bleu, a social venture in Montreal, managed a pilot project about the development of washable incontinence diapers. They tested the project on four residents and ultimately demonstrated that it is possible to use washable diapers in a retirement home. Lange Bleu has planned the second step of this pilot project in 2015 at the same place, the CH Rose-de-Lima, but with new and better performing incontinence diapers.
Lange Bleu aims to reduce about 50% of waste generated by retirement residences in Quebec and to improve the quality of life of the elderly. The project considered the needs of all the members of the CHSLD including staff, patients, Users Committee, and families:
- Respect for the dignity of the patient
- Comfort and perception of the patient
- Consideration of the patient's skin, especially irritation due to chaffing or reactions to the diaper material
- Use of a protocol that ensures infection control and prevention
- Proper training and support for staff
- Definition of a simple logistic flux for washable incontinence diapers
Thanks to this project, Lange Bleu has demonstrated that it is possible to use washable incontinence diapers in a CHSLD.
- Health care: Washable diapers do not contain any of the chemical products that disposable diapers do (sodium polyacrylate, perfume, TBT, dioxine), which can reduce skin irritation
- Environment: Reduction of the volume of waste sent by the CHSLD
- Economy: Reduction of landfill costs and creation of a local market
- Other benefits to asses the comfort of patients and infections preventions