22 Jan 2014

The Sharps Program: Ensure Safety, Encourage Community

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Rockaway Care Center has recently started its very own Sharps Program. A what? Unless you’re involved in a Sharps Program, you probably don’t know what it is. To introduce the topic, take a guess from the choices below.

A Sharps Program is…?

a)      A guide to safeguarding knives, saws, and other sharp objects from young children.
b)      An initiative named after someone with the last name Sharps.
c)       A location for safe disposal of used syringes, needles and lancets.
d)      A misspelling – they meant to say “Sharks Program”, and it’s about saving endangered species of the shark variety.

The correct answer is “c”. Since syringes, needles and lancets are sharp, it was dubbed the Sharps Program.  These single-use medical device parts are forbidden from being thrown in with the regular garbage. Why? Not because they are sharp, but because they potentially contain hazardous waste from contact with blood borne viruses (BBV) or other harmful matter.

The Sharps Program initiatives, therefore, create a safe space for disposal of syringes, needles, and lancets. Held all over the world, from the US to Canada, England to Australia, Sharps Programs provide the device users a space to put these items with their dangerously sharp parts.  The users are given a container to store the sharps, and when they bring the container in to the Sharps Program location, in exchange, they receive a new sharps sterile storage container.

But it’s not just about the specialized disposal. It’s not just about safety. It’s not just about the relief of having somewhere to put these items legally.  These are the primary goals, to be sure.  But in parallel, there’s another, broader, benefit: Community.

By hosting a Sharps Program, Rockaway Care Center relishes in the opportunity to be a haven for healthiest medicinal administration on the one hand, and connection among people on the other.  Every time a person comes in for the Sharps Program hours, he or she might meet others doing similar. And all can connect with the staff members involved.  This way, not only are the Sharps Program participants able to maintain high hygienic and safety standards, they also feel like they are a part of something bigger – a caring community. That’s what Rockaway Care Center is all about.

Rockaway Care Center Nursing Facility will accept syringes, needles and lancets in proper containers from community members on the first Monday of each month between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and noon, at no cost to you. Sharps containers can be purchased at any surgical supply store. Please note – the facility will only be able to accept sharps that are in a rigid, non-permeable, puncture resistant container. The following containers are not acceptable; plastic or paper bags, coffee cans, glass bottles or thin detergent bottles. For further information please call 718-471-5000

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