Addressing climate change has become an urgent mission as it is now one of the biggest health threats of the 21st century. London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has decided to launch a series of initiatives to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHGs) emission, which includes carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, all highly toxic to the environment.
Acknowledging its role in a sector responsible for nearly 4.6 per cent of national GHGs emissions, the Operating Room - Planetary Health Intervention Team (OR-PHIT), a dynamic team of health care professionals at LHSC, has ignited a movement to empower patients to be eco-champions and fight climate change by bringing their own garment bags and water bottle when admitted for surgery.
"Studies have shown that the ORs produce close to 20 and 33 per cent of total hospital waste. We feel it is crucial to help the environment as much as possible. That is why we piloted the 'Bring Your Own' initiative at the Nazem Kadri Surgical Center (NKSC)," explains Jenn Sleegers, Charge Nurse at NKSC.
Each surgical patient receives one styrofoam cup and one or two plastic garment bags. Within a mere six weeks of launching the pilot, 87 per cent of patients embraced garment bags, while 80 per cent carried their own water bottles. These fantastic results serve as an inspiration to replicate this campaign across LHSC.
Surgical patients interested in bringing their own garment bag and reusable water bottle are encouraged to do so. "These small changes made by our patients, combined with other hospital-wide efforts to reduce emissions, can make a big difference in healing our planet," emphasizes Sleegers.