Laundry Guidelines For Care Homes (And How To Meet Them)
In this overview, we’ll highlight the three most important laundry guidelines for care homes, with a focus on the key regulations your washing 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.
Key CQC Laundry Guidelines For Care Homes
When inspecting your care home, the CQC expects to see a safe and sanitary environment with healthy and happy residents. They also enforce the Health Technical Memoranda 01-04 for laundry disinfection (more on that later).
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. Download a copy of the HTM-01-04 regulations.
Key HTM 01-04 Laundry Guidelines For Care Homes
Disinfection must be achieved in every wash cycle. There are two accepted methods – thermal or chemical disinfection.
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
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.
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.
Key WRAS Laundry Guidelines For Care Homes
There are five WRAS Fluid Categories, ranging from 1 for wholesome water to 5 for water which is contaminated by ‘faecal material or other human waste’. All care homes are deemed high-risk due to a typically high level of incontinence, therefore the washing machines they use should be protected by a suitable backflow prevention device such as an air-gap to Fluid Category 5.
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...