It’s Earth Day today, which makes it the perfect time to focus on providing cost-efficient care at your workplace. Why should you care? Consider these facts:
- For the average healthcare workplace, supplies take up 20% of the budget. Inefficient use of supplies “steals” money from the budget that might go to employee raises and benefits. Yet, it is estimated that the average healthcare organization wastes more than $1 million in supplies every year!
- Healthcare facilities use twice as much energy as other businesses. Computer systems, high tech equipment and air handling systems all use energy—and energy is expensive.
How You Can Help
Here are just a few tips to get you started:
- You were probably taught that once an item goes into a client’s room or home, it should remain there. It's bad practice to return an item to the clean utility that has been in a client’s room or home because of risk of contamination. With that in mind, think about everything you take into a client's room or home before you do it.
- If you are in the habit of setting up empty rooms with personal care supplies before a new client arrives, consider this: some clients will come with their own toothbrushes, lotions and razors. Visiting with the client and family first and assessing their needs will eliminate waste and cut costs for the employer and the client.
- If you work in home health, you may be in the habit of keeping extra supplies in your car. Pay attention to how often you end up throwing away unused items and adjust your “stash” accordingly.
- Get unplugged! Appliances still use power even when they are turned off. Seventy five percent of the electricity used to power electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Unplugging radios, televisions, hair dryers, or any other unused appliance can cut this waste to zero!
- Take advantage of daylight by opening blinds or curtains during the day. And, turn off the lights in any room you're not using. For example, the supply room does not need to have a light on all the time. Place a note by the door reminding others to turn off the light when they leave.
- Showers use less water than baths, so when it's an option, choose a short shower for your client instead of a bath.
- A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short amount of time. Report leaks immediately and follow up to make sure they get repaired.
So, as we celebrate Earth Day, keep in mind that besides helping the environment, any cost-saving measures you incorporate will benefit you. How? Remember, if the company you work for makes a profit, there will be more money for you! And, every dollar wasted at your workplace is passed on to the consumer. One day you, or a loved one, will be the healthcare consumer. Do you want to pay for someone else’s wasted supplies? Do you want to pay more for your own healthcare because lights were left on in empty rooms? Whew…I sure don’t!
Linda Leekley BS, RN