Running A Healthcare Laundry Onsite
Hospitals, clinics, care homes, GP surgeries, dentists and health centres are all increasingly realising the benefits to be had from operating their own in-house healthcare laundry and disinfection facilities.
By taking control of their own destiny in terms of meeting key compliance guidelines – rather than relying on a costly outside facility to meet criteria on their behalf – such sites can better protect staff, patients and residents against the risk of HAIs, general outbreaks and seasonal microbial cross-contamination.
Thermal or ozone disinfection?
While traditional thermal disinfection has a role to play in maintaining the hygiene of commercial sites, low temperature innovations such as OTEX ozone disinfection offer a higher level of performance. 99.999% of bacteria such as MRSA, C.Diff, Norovirus and the like are all powerless to survive its natural disinfection qualities, and ‘green’ benefits of reduced water and energy usage are also a benefit.
Whether you need to process bed sheets, cubicle curtains, personal items of clothing or the microfibre you use to clean floors & surfaces, ozone disinfection is superior to more widespread methods and has received Department of Health recognition to that effect, having been acknowledged by the Rapid Review Panel (Recommendation 1*).
Jackie Hook, JLA’s in-house Chemist has been working with OTEX for over a decade and explains:
“OTEX ticks all the boxes for a healthcare organisation. It disinfects at low temperatures on every cycle saving energy, with simple procedures reducing user operator errors; it can be used in both our free-standing washers and barrier washers with a range of machine sizes up to 90Kg; and whilst naturally powerful as a disinfectant it will not damage the fibres of the laundry - ozone washing actually increases the lifespan of many fabrics. Other laundry methods have their place, but no other solution offers the all-round peace of mind that OTEX does. As the Rapid Review Panel acknowledged in 2009, ozone is more effective in decontamination than traditional methods.*”
JLA’s 5 must-haves for on-premise healthcare laundry:
1. Robust, reliable laundry equipment
It’s vital to have commercial (or even industrial) grade washing machines and dryers that offer a means of thermal disinfection at least – but ideally ozone disinfection. Make sure the equipment you choose is right for your operational needs, and will help you meet compliance responsibilities such as those set out in DoH guidelines for disinfection verification.
2. A clear understanding of the laundry needs in your organisation
How much laundry do you need to process, and which regulations will you need to uphold? Ask your laundry supplier for a laundry audit survey, which will allow them to advise on the machine capacities and features you will need for the most cost-effective and easy-to-use laundry facility. The best advice will also include planning and design assistance to make sure you get the most out of the space you have available.
3. Well-designed laundry layout
Clear segregation of dirty and clean areas is paramount to good infection control procedures. Making most of the laundry area will ensure the process flows more effectively from dirty to clean, provide a good working environment and reduce the risk of cross contamination.
4. Sufficiently trained staff
Often overlooked, or simply not available from laundry companies who prefer to sell products instead of solutions, staff training is vital to maintaining an efficient, hygienic workflow in your on-premise laundry. Only take equipment from a supplier if they can demonstrate how to use it, and also talk you through key safeguarding processes such as red bag sorting and general handling – which will protect your staff, patients and residents.
5. Service backup, 7 days a week
This not only means downtime will be kept to a minimum if a fault occurs, but also guards In an all-inclusive package like our own Total Care solution, service backup comes with an 8-working hour guarantee and 24/7 freephone support, so any staff member can contact us directly if a problem arises.