A hospital macerator is a clinical device usually found in hopsital sluice rooms that quickly and efficiently dispose of human waste without exposing the clinician to risk of infectious disease.
Hospital macerators, or pulp macerators, are designed to dispose of pulp containers such as bedpans, as well as human waste and maceratable wipes.
The big advantage of this over something like a bedpan washer is there is no further interaction with the bedpan. The entire thing, waste and bedpan, gets macerated and flushed into the sewer system.
This is important because if a reusable bedpan hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly the clinician or care worker is potentially being exposed to harmful microbes that could cause an outbreak.
However, for all the crucial clinical benefits of pulp macerators, they on occasion have something of a bad reputation in certain circles of the medical community…
Let’s take a look at the common myths out there.
1. Macerators block
Some makes and models of pulp or bedpan macerators have been known to experience blockages. This is largely to do with that model working along the lines of a domestic toilet in that the basin fills with water and the macerated pulp and waste is flushed through the soil pipe in one go.
Sometimes it can be the equivalent of using too much toilet paper. Needless to say, blockages are both unpleasant and highly hazardous to clinicians, cleaning crews and engineers.
Our pulp macerators work more like a garden sprinkler, soaking the pulp and waste, macerating it gradually so material only a few millimetres in size travels through the soil pipe.
This also means if the cleaning cycle doesn’t fully dispose of the waste, additional wash cycles won’t pump more water in to the basin which is potentially still half full of water.
2. Macerators are unclean
Unlike reusable bedpan washers that spray the bedpans with hot, pressurised water, traditional pulp macerators act a lot like a sink which means there is potentially infectious residue left behind.
Most macerators, ours included, go through a self-cleaning cycle to prevent this from happening.
The pulp macerator essentially repeats the disposal cycle, dousing the basin in cold water then using a chemical rinse cycle to disinfect and deodorise, killing any microbes along with removing any residue or stray pieces of pulp.
The only time a cleaning cycle poses a risk to the clinicians is if the pulp macerator is already blocked from a disposal cycle. But as mentioned, that isn’t a concern for our Pulpmatic range of pulp macerators.
3. Macerators are expensive
Whilst the unit cost of the average macerator can be higher than a reusable bedpan washer, there are significant savings too.
Macerators use less water which means they are more cost effective to run and kinder to the environment.
The cost of pulp is a fraction of the cost of reusable bedpans and whilst consumable, still outperforms reusable bedpans on a cost analysis. They are also safer because there is no risk of contamination from an improperly cleaned reusable bedpan.
Moreover, the cost of one of our Incomatic incontinence macerators is a fraction of the cost of a hazardous waste disposal company to dispose of incontinence pads and nappies.
Depending on the level of hazard those costs can spiral, particularly in the event of a diarrhoea and sickness outbreak.
Furthermore, take into account the reduced risk to staff and the resulting decrease in staff sickness and macerators, be it the Pulpmatic or the Incomatic, start to make a lot of sense.
4. Macerators break down
In the same way that any mechanical device can breakdown, this is true.
Whilst a pulp macerator has more moving parts than a bedpan washer, it is a more sophisticated, safer machine to use.
However, like any other device or piece of machinery in your facility, it is only as reliable as the condition it’s kept in. Well maintained machines last longer. Fact.
They also become more cost effective.
A Planned Preventative Maintenance programme on a product like our Pulpmatic pulp macerator that, through design, is inherently more reliable long term, results in savings whilst doing a better job of keeping your clinicians and patients safe from infectious disease.
Investing in a planned preventative maintenance programme on your entire sluice/dirty utility room solution keeps your machines working to factory specifications for the duration of its (greatly extended) life time.
5. Macerators aren't as efficient
Pulp macerators have a very similar, or better, capacity to their counterpart bedpan washers so in terms of keeping pace with the demands of your ward, they cope admirably.
Plus the fire and forget nature of pulp macerators means your clinicians can busy themselves with other more pressing tasks than waiting for a cleaning cycle to finish.
Our macerators are five minutes quicker than a bedpan washer which, throughout the course of a working day is saved time that could be spent delivering care to those who need it.
The Pulpmatic macerators also use significantly less water than a bedpan washer which means its energy efficient and less wasteful too.