There is a great deal of work occurring in this area but it does not seem to make the headlines very often. Many nurses are reducing the impact of health care by reducing the waste they create, disposing of waste appropriately, educating their colleagues and patients on how to reduce their impact on the environment. Here are some resources and activities in this area may not know about: Canada Greening Health Care is a Canada wide initiative helping hospitals to decrease their impact on the environment through improved energy efficiency. Reducing energy use allows for more money to be directed to patient care. Last year 2.4 million was saved through the program. Interested to learn more their website is greeninghc.com
The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care shares best practice for greening health care between individuals, groups, businesses and government. There are many resources on the website to help you begin creating a greener practice. For more information go to: greenhealthcare.ca
The Ontario Hospital Association has an annual Green Hospital Scorecard. This is a measurable way hospitals are recognized and ranked in their environmental performance to operations, management and policies. It is voluntary and allows hospitals to see their progress from year to year and against other hospitals.Some hospitals are making tremendous strides forward in their efforts reducing waste, energy. There website is www.oha.com
Talkin’ Trash with UHN is a great place to start. The team here are energetic and seeing amazing results. You can go to their website talkintrashwithuhn.com and sign up for their weekly blog or if time is short follow them on twitter.
International The following two organizations have a wealth of information and are leaders in the movement to green healthcare. Healthcare Without Harm an international organization focused on reducing the impact of health care. They have an annual conference (CleanMed) and many success stories. There is a US & Canada division to learn more go to noharmuscanada.org
Practice Greenhealth is a US based initiative with a great deal of information on all aspects of greening health care. It is a partner with Health Care without Harm, the American Nurses Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency. This is the go to place for the best practice in greening health care with much of the ground research work already done. Topics covered include leadership, waste, chemicals, environmentally preferable purchasing, healthier food, green design and construction. Just copy and paste this into your browser practicegreenhealth.org for more information.
Interested in knowing more? Kathy Gerwig wrote a book “Greening Health Care: How hospitals can health the planet.” This is an easy to read book full of basic ideas that work. She is involved with Health Care without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. You can buy it from Google as a paperback or an e-book.