Aged care laundry forms a significant component of service demand for commercial laundries in Australia. Given that such facilities straddle the line of both the healthcare and hospitality industries, fresh, disinfected linen is highly important for smooth operations.
In this process, thoroughly washing bed sheets, towels, and other types of linen, alone, isn’t enough. As the service rendered by aged care facilities grow more important, more complex, and more in-demand, commercial laundries also share some of the responsibility that comes with this.
With more than 200,000 Australians living or staying in residential aged care facilities on any given day, commercial laundries need to be attuned to the requirements specified for laundering the linen from these facilities. Our post today takes a look at what these are.
Establishing the right infection control processes
The elderly often suffer from a host of health issues and much weaker immune systems. For this reason, disinfection requirements for aged care laundry will differ from those of other hospitality laundry clients.
A lack of proper procedure in this area can be disastrous. Linen that’s not properly laundered can be a vehicle for disease transmission, including those as serious as influenza, novo viruses, and other infectious illnesses.
Apart from using industrial-grade equipment, which is more likely to remove dirt and destroy harmful bacteria, undertaking the right number of wash cycles, using the right kind and the right amount of detergent, and using hot water to further destroy germs is highly important. While practices may vary from laundry to laundry, having an established procedure with demonstrated effectiveness is highly important.
Beyond just ensuring the health of elderly residents, commercial laundries then have the ability to position themselves as reliable laundry partners for leading aged care facilities.
Proper linen management and handling practices
Another important part of service delivery for commercial laundries is effective and hassle-free linen management.
On top of the daily duties aged care operators need to undertake, the last thing they need on their minds is lost or misplaced linen. On the opposite end of operations, it’s important that laundries handle aged care laundry carefully, given the risk of infection.
In this regard, there are a few best practices that would make sense for laundries to implement:
- Securing contaminated linen at the point of collection in separate, tightly-sealed bags or receptacles.
- Ensuring that staff handle soiled linen responsibly, with gloves, and disinfect well after coming into contact with them.
- Taking care not to sort used linen in the aged care facility itself or any other location residents can be found.
- Storing clean bed linen, towels, and other laundry items in a separate area, free from moisture, contamination, vermin, dust, and aerosols.
In addition to this, it’s equally important that proper procedures are put in place to prevent commercial laundries from mixing up their linen. Much like traditional healthcare facilities, it would be disastrous for aged care institutions to receive the wrong linen or less linen than they needed.
For this reason, laundries not only need to ensure that they keep a careful track of laundry requirements for each week but automate the linen sorting process to ensure fewer errors. Here, RFID linen tracking solutions are likely to come in handy, given that they assign each garment a unique tracking tag, allowing laundry operators to exercise greater control and visibility over the linen that moves to aged care facilities and back.
Improving the efficiency of aged care laundry services with a laundry management system
Given the virtually non-existent margin for error, aged care laundry service providers need to do everything possible to ensure that service delivery is the best it can be.
With commercial laundry management systems, services are optimised to the highest possible measure. Customer relationship management, laundry sorting, tracking, customer orders, and even data management is automated significantly, giving employees enough of space to focus on more substantial areas of their operations.
Aged care laundry service delivery isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to be complicated
As demand for professional linen cleaning services grows, commercial laundries will find it imperative, if they haven’t already, to optimise their services for aged care facilities.
Here, disinfection processes, faultless linen management, and efficient internal practices will only grow more important. The right commercial laundry management system can solve most, if not all, of these challenges.