January 17, 2023

At-Home Care: Medical Waste Disposal Assistance

The COVID-19 pandemic expedited the growth of at-home care and the trend is expected to continue. A key challenge associated with this healthcare adjustment is arranging for the proper disposal of medical and pharmaceutical waste when outside of a healthcare facility. Some patients and providers may not have the necessary resources, tools, or knowledge to dispose of waste in an at-home care setting. Stericycle’s 2022 Healthcare Workplace Safety Trend Report (HWSTR) found that the majority of providers (69%) and administrators (78%) surveyed agree that there are not enough standards in place to remove medical waste from homes safely.

According to the 2022 HWSTR, providers recognize that at-home care can provide patients comfort (78%), convenience (71%), and personalized care (60%). But with these benefits, there are also challenges to treating patients in their homes. Proper disposal of medical and pharmaceutical waste helps ensure a safer medical experience for patients and healthcare providers.

Stericycle offers solutions to help dispose of waste generated in at-home care settings. For example, for pharmaceutical waste disposal patients can use Seal&SendTM Consumer Medication Mail Envelopes. This anonymous, convenient option includes envelopes for patients to send unused or expired medications directly from their homes. No DEA registration is required to buy the envelopes, and they are prepaid via United States Postal Service (USPS). The 2022 HWSTR also found that, 82% of healthcare providers believe that opioid diversion is harder to manage in at-home care settings, and 68% believe that with the rise of at-home care comes the rise of drug diversion. Distributing Seal&SendTM envelopes to patients during at-home care visits is one step providers can take to help mitigate this risk.

Stericycle also offers ways for patients and providers to conveniently collect and mail sharps (such as needles or syringes) and other types of medical waste from home. Stericycle offers mail back solutions, which come in a variety of sizes. The mail back kits provide everything needed to collect and package the waste. All mail back kits are authorized for use by the USPS and feature:

  • Containers and plastic liners
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Pre-addressed, postage-paid return shipping containers and labels
  • Prepaid treatment
  • Serialized shipping papers

With the majority of healthcare providers (90%) and administrators (83%) surveyed expecting the rate of at-home care to increase over the next five years, it is important to find ways to address concerns about how to properly dispose of medical and pharmaceutical waste outside of a healthcare facility.

Learn more about how Stericycle can help with proper medical and pharmaceutical waste disposal at home.

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