In this overview, we’ll highlight the three most important laundry guidelines for care homes, with a focus on the key regulations your commercial laundry process must follow in order to meet Government standards – and of course, your residents’ expectations.
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Focus #1: CQC Inspections
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator established by the Health and Social Care Act 2008. They are responsible for inspecting care homes across the UK and play a vital role in the development of regulations for care, which include best practices in your laundry room.
Top tips for staying CQC compliant:
- Focus on the five key questions the CQC always ask themselves during inspections: Is the home well-led? Is the home safe? Is the home effective? Is the home caring? Is the home responsive?
- Make following hygiene regulations a priority in your laundry rooms (see HTM 01-04 below
- CQC representatives can arrive unannounced – be sure that you are always inspection-ready
Focus #2: HTM 01-04
The Department of Health’s Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 01-04 provides guidelines for the disinfection of linens in care homes.
Water in your laundry cycles should reach a temperature at or above 65°C for no less than 18 minutes, or 71°C for no less than 11 minutes (including mixing time).
You must use a method, such as ozone laundry disinfection, that is validated and is as effective as thermal disinfection. These processes prevent the spread of micro-organisms like MRSA and C.Diff, which can threaten residents’ health.
The JLA alternative: ozone disinfection_x000D_
Unique to JLA: OTEX ozone disinfection provides a verifiable way to meet HTM 01-04 by harnessing the natural power of ozone O3, to kill bacteria, moulds, yeasts and viruses and eliminate the risk of cross-infection in laundry. Learn more about our ozone washer system here.
Request a free callback to dicuss to learn more about our OTEX ozone laundry disinfection.
What happens if my home isn’t HTM 01-04 compliant?
Your care home could be placed into special measures or shut down if an inspection finds that you aren’t meeting the HTM 01-04 standards and a resident or staff member has been harmed because of this. In extreme cases, CQC can bring prosecution against you.
Top tips for HTM 01-04 compliance:
- Ensure that every load of laundry is thoroughly disinfected according to guidelines
- Establish routes for the transportation of soiled items, from collection to washing and storage, in order to prevent cross-contamination
- Ensure staff are adequately trained in thermal and chemical disinfection methods
Focus # 3: WRAS (Water Regulation Advisory Scheme)
The Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) is an organisational body that ensures protection of the public water supply by setting standards for products such as washing machines.
What happens if my home isn’t WRAS compliant?
If an inspection from your local water authority finds that you aren’t meeting WRAS standards and you don’t pass a second inspection, your machines will be condemned and failure to take action could result in your care home’s water supply being disconnected. You could also be fined or prosecuted, as contamination of the water supply is a criminal offence.
As with any area of your home that needs to stay compliant, it’s important to ask an expert who can advise on layouts, workflows, regulations and maintenance. Our team can help you make informed choices, and find the best equipment for your specific needs.
What is essential for the safe handling of linen laundry?
It’s vital that your care home laundry follows best practice in the sorting, segregation, transportation, storage, washing, finishing and drying of linen. Contact our expert team below for advice on what you need to focus on in your care home laundry…