When considering the client base of most commercial laundries, healthcare facilities such as hospitals are some of the most loyal clients in the industry. In this context, hospital linen forms a considerable percentage of the total items laundered every year.
Given the nature of these organisations and the kind of operations they run, what specific requirements do hospitals possess when it comes to the commercial laundry process?
From tough standards concerning disinfectant to precautionary measures at collection and delivery, our blog post takes a look at the laundering requirements for hospital textiles. Continue reading to find out what these are!
Given that hospitals are a site for treating sick individuals, laundering standards and requirements for this sector are particularly high – and rightfully so – when it comes to disinfection.
Initially, guidelines in this area specified certain processes – such as thermal disinfection at 71℃ for a minimum of 3 minutes – for the extermination of harmful pathogens. This was changed with the emergence of thermo-chemical systems.
With the publication of the BS EN 14065, however, alternative methods of disinfection were introduced for commercial laundries that had the job of cleaning hospital clothes. This allowed them to conduct their own processes of disinfection, provided that there was an effective system for verifying both the disinfection and the components of the system being used.
Commercial laundries who are in the business of laundering hospital textiles must, therefore, pay attention to the disinfection standards in place. For more expedient operations, it may be fitting to adopt the same processes across all industries being catered to.
When it comes to processing hospital clothes, disinfection isn’t the only factor that requires careful consideration. In fact, commercial laundries must also take steps to curb cross-infection through a number of measures.
As a first step, it’s crucial that these spaces are kept free of all animals and insects – birds included. This ensures that the cold water tank and the laundry, as a whole, are infection-free from start to finish.
It’s also crucial to take steps to prevent germs from spreading from soiled laundry to the fresh linen being stored, prior to dispatch. Here, measures must be taken to impose physical barriers separating clean and dirty loads and to adjust the air pressure to prevent bugs from escaping laundry orders bearing broken seals.
Staff cleanliness and hygiene is also crucial in preventing cross-infection and, therefore, steps must be taken to ensure that this is maintained at the highest levels.
Maintaining uncontaminated hospital linen at collection and delivery
When handling hospital clothes and those belonging to other healthcare facilities, it is pertinent to ensure these are collected and transported safely to prevent the contamination of other laundry loads.
Here, it’s important to invest in sturdy and zero-leak containers that can store these items, temporarily, before they’re washed and cleaned to perfection. These must prevent leakage of blood, vomit, and other substances common to hospitals. In this process, it’s also important to ensure that these containers are cleaned after each collection of hospital linen.
In addition to this, staff who are tasked with collecting and delivering these loads must also take necessary precautions as well. Here, training and instructions will need to be provided to ensure that infectious diseases aren’t transmitted through the collection and delivery process.
Hospital textiles forms a core component of the workload – and profits – commercial laundries lay claim to. Such high-yield clients, however, come with certain caveats. In the case of healthcare facilities, this takes the form of highly specific laundering requirements and the risk of infection.
By adopting the right technology, facilities, and processes it is possible, however, to meet these challenges in an entirely successful manner. Beyond preventing the risk of infection and performing a faultless cleaning process, enjoying profits and loyal healthcare clients is, therefore, easier than previously imagined.
For more insights on the laundering requirements for hospital linen, stay tuned to the Bundle blog!