June 6, 2018
Although our waste management responsibilities regularly require the safe and responsible handling of hazardous waste, there are occasions where it’s necessary to go beyond the call of duty.
One such case involved WGS playing a key role in a very challenging situation faced by a Kent nursing home.
It concerned a 98-year-old female resident at the St John Home in Whitstable.
The elderly lady, a diabetic, had been treated for leg ulcers but, after having undergone various courses of antibiotics, developed the dangerous bacterial bowel infection, Clostridium Difficile, also known as C Diff.
The infection, which can be fatal, was quickly spotted by Nursing Home Manager, Mary Dorsett. The priority then turned to ensuring the lady was kept in isolation, preventing any spread to other residents at the Home and potentially further afield.
Throughout that time, the patient was confined to her room and had to be barrier nursed to prevent any cross infection. All her bedding and crockery was disinfected in Milton tanks to avoid any contamination.
Mary phoned WGS to see whether there was anything that we could do from a waste management perspective to contain the infection.
WGS immediately recommended installing a 50 litre medical unit in the bedroom to store all patient related waste material. The unit was lined with orange coloured clinical hazardous bags, with fresh supplies at the ready.
The bags were changed every day and disposed of in a specially assigned external wheelie bin – which was locked and kept well away from other waste from the Home. With C Diff waste classified as hazardous, WGS made sure waste consignment notes were prepared, to ensure the waste’s traceability at all times.
As a result of careful management within the Home and WGS’s proactive and professional service, the C Diff infection was successfully contained and no other residents were affected.
“In all, the whole procedure lasted about five weeks,” Mary said. “WGS reacted immediately to help us in our hour of need. It really was a daily process of ensuring that the waste bags were isolated and removed and I’m not sure what we would have done if WGS hadn’t been there to help us through that crucial period, including our staff on all the necessary procedures to take to stop any contamination. Nothing was too much trouble,” she said.
WGS Waste Managing Director Paul Large said he was delighted that the C Diff outbreak had been contained. “Our first priority was to give St John Home the reassurance that we would take all the necessary steps to handle the scare.
“I’d like to think that this fast response helped turn the tide and I think it’s fair to say that no other waste company would have reacted this quickly and stuck with it throughout that key period,” said Paul.
Meanwhile, during the C Diff crisis, it also transpired that St John Home was having a real problem getting their existing cardboard waste supplier to take materials away from the site.
“It was clogging up outside the back of the nursing home and becoming a real issue,” said Mary. “Despite repeated requests for them to come and clear it away, we had weeks of waste piling up. To add insult, we were paying a huge amount of money for a service that we weren’t even getting.
“In desperation, I asked WGS if they could help and they said they could. I never realised until then that this was part of the service they could provide. From that day, we’ve been delighted with the service. WGS collect all our cardboard and paper waste every Thursday – and it costs us less than what we were being charged from our previous suppliers, who weren’t doing the job properly!
So thank you to WGS for all your hard work. As Manager of the St John, you have made my life a lot easier as a result,” she said.