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.
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 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