With contaminated linen carrying the main risk of an infection outbreak within the majority of healthcare environments, laundry hygiene is a key part of the quality process. Here, Amanda Dufrane, Care Segment Manager at Electrolux Professional, explains the best practice guidelines for proper Laundry Cycle Management.
Given that bacteria and viruses can remain active in linen for long periods of time, paying due care and attention to laundry processes is absolutely vital in the fight against infection. Each stage of the journey must be effectively controlled, and Laundry Cycle Management is a validation-based system that helps care staff to do just that.
Electrolux Professional has developed the system to ensure that, no matter whether they are washing bedsheets or bath towels, carers can follow these eight simple steps and be confident that they are minimising the risk of infection.
1. Cleaning operatives should first pre-sort dirty linen, ensuring that items can be washed effectively with programmes appropriate to their textile type.
2. Linen should then be transported using dedicated trolleys and routes established to avoid contaminating the surrounding environment.
3. The next stage of the process is sorting, during which cleaning operatives should check for sharp devices and waste products that may risk damaging the linen.
4. Items are then washed. Operators must ensure the appropriate temperature and chemicals are used based on the fabric type of the items.
5. The drying and ironing of items should be performed as soon as possible after washing to prevent recontamination. This also provides a further level of thermal disinfection for added peace of mind.
6. Then, clean items should be packed and stowed in appropriate trolleys or areas of the laundry. Again, this reduces the risk of linen being re-contaminated once washed.
7. This clean linen must be then transported post-wash. Again, this should be via pre-established ‘clean’ routes.
8. The final storage of linen is vital to ensuring linen remains hygienic. Wood shelving should be replaced with metal or plastic to keep growth of micro-organisms to a minimum, whilst linen which has been stowed away for the longest should be used first.
The demands placed on healthcare professionals are constant when it comes to preventing infection, but the aim of Laundry Cycle Management is to reduce this strain where laundry is concerned. Ultimately, following these simple principles could be the difference between working in aesthetically clean environment and a hygienically clean one.
For more information on Electrolux Professional’s leading range of laundry solutions, visit www.electrolux.co.uk/professional.