Essay on A Greener Approach to Healthcare

Essay on A Greener Approach to Healthcare

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Florence Nightingale, considered by many to be the founder of the nursing profession focused on the environment as a key factor in human health and healing. Today (according to Agwunobi) illnesses related to pollution have been estimated to cost about $250 billion annually and responsible for 50,000 to 100,000 deaths per year in the United States alone (cited in Gustavson, 2010, p. 7). The Joint Commission (TJC)(2008) published a five-part document that focuses on major topics our healthcare system must improve upon if we are to continue to provide the high quality of care we are accustomed to in this country. The document addresses economics, technology, environment, staffing, and patient centered care. In the following sections I will be examining the growing problem of waste in our hospitals, how dangerous it is to our health, our wallets and steps we can take to improve it.
Assessment and Diagnosis
The government has realized that in order to keep individuals healthy, and that adverse health affects are prevented by avoiding exposure to hazardous materials, the United States Department of Health and Human Services has included environmental health and quality as one of its largest and most complex focus areas for Healthy People 2010 and 2020 campaigns as stated by (Agwunobi) cited by Gustavson (2010). By decreasing the amount of waste it produces, a facility is able to directly decrease the impact it has not only on the local water and air supply but also the amount of exposure it subjects to the surrounding population. The healthcare industry contributes more than 2.4 million tons of waste each year and is the second largest consumer of energy next to food processing companies (Harris, Pisa, Talioaga & Vezeau, 2009). ...

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...ironment and economics. Institute of Medicine: National Academy Press.
Lee, B. -K., Ellenecker, M.J. & Moure-Eraso, R. (2008). Analyses of the recycling potential of medical plastic wastes. Waste Management, 22, 461-470.
Mancini, M.E. (2007). Healthcare organizations. In P.S. Yoder-Wise (Ed). Leading and Managing in Nursing (4th Ed., pp 415-525). Philadelphia: Mosby.
Mejia, E. M. & Sattler, B. (2009). Starting a health care system green team. AORN Journal, 90 (1), 33-40.
Topf, M. (2007). Psychological explanations and interventions for indifference to greening hospitals. Health Care Management Review, 30(1), 2-8
The Joint Commission (2008). Healthcare at the Crossroads: Guiding Principles for the Development of the Hospital of the Future. Retrieved from

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