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Handling Chemotherapy Wastes & The Use of Spill Kits

Elizabeth Legary posted this on Mar 25, 2020

Chemotherapy spill kits are essential for the efficient management of hazardous chemical spills that are created out of cytotoxic drugs. Waste management is required in chemotherapy cases for quick clean-up and meticulous disposition with minimal exposure. These kits are inclusive of chemotherapy gown, a cleanup kit that comes along with a mask and gloves, non-slip shoe covers, red biohazard bags, etc.

The purpose or necessity of spill kits

Why are spill kits important in the first place? Rather, which segment of the population needs to deal with chemo spills on a regular basis? Health workers routinely handling hazardous drugs, individuals working in the chemotherapy drug industry and patients using them, come across accidental spills very often. The USP 800 standard spill kits are designed for maximum protection and least exposure with proper clean-up of any chemotherapy spill during compounding and administering the doses.

The right set of spill kits for you

According to chemotherapy spill protocol, it is mandatory to have a spill kit handy. In case of accidents like leakage of the IV tubing or when the connections aren’t tight enough, clean-up becomes quick and easy with a spill kit:

Each spill kit comes with an instruction sheet. Follow the steps to bring the ‘spilled’ situation under your control:

Put on the pair of disposable gloves and clamp the tubing. Turn off the pump, if any.

1. Take the plastic bags and dispose of any remaining medication, the tubing, pump, and containers (if any).
2. The spills need to be soaked with absorbent pads/pillows
3. The contents used for cleaning along with your gloves should be placed in the plastic bags before sealing the latter.
4. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly and make sure that the contents of the plastic bag do not come in contact with pets or any other people around!

Other important aspects of Chemo Handling

Chemotherapy and biotherapy medications are hazardous and to handle them, you need special training and be well versed with specific protocols depending on the type of exposure attached with the drugs. Such medications have clear instructions on the package regarding clean-up and must also be explained to untrained family members of the concerned patient by their health care workers. In the case of refrigeration, it should be ascertained that the drug must not touch any other food or products. The best way is to store it in a sealed bag before refrigerating it.

The empty pill bottles or containers of cancer medications should never be recycled or reused. Make sure they are disposed in the trash.

Handling body fluids

Body fluid handling is crucial too in the case of cancer patients. This is because the toxic chemicals may appear in the patient's excreta too. That includes urine, stool, vaginal fluid, semen, and even vomit. For instance, in the case of oral chemo, the following set of advice needs to be adhered to during as well as 7 days after the treatment:

1. Wear disposable gloves while emptying or rinsing the bedpan, urinal or commode, touching diapers or cleaning the vomit.
2. Flush the toilet twice after closing the lid once you finish using it
3. Wash not only your hands but also other body parts that come in contact with the excreta!

The subject of chemotherapy waste is a comprehensive one. This is so because chemotherapy waste materials fall under several hazardous categories. They could be corrosive, ignitable, reactive or toxic. Determining the category allows the proper and correct disposal of such wastes! Spill kits only aid in doing the job quickly, efficiently and with ease.

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