Reduce the Risk of Infection in Your Senior Living Facility
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.5 million cases of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) occur in senior living communities each year. That is an average of one infection per year per resident! What’s more: these HAIs are the leading cause of death among residents.
But the good news is that you can help prevent infection by reassessing your community’s laundry operations. Read on as we discuss why choosing to outsource laundry services to a provider such as Faultless Healthcare Linen can help your senior living facility not only prevent HAIs, but also ensure its linens are laundered to hygienically clean standards.
The Five Basic Principles of Laundry
Linens cannot be hygienically cleaned unless five basic principles of laundry are met: adequate time, temperature, mechanical action, procedures and chemicals. In addition to high water temperature, washers must not be over full so as to ensure proper distribution of detergent, clean linens must be transported and stored in covered containers and all laundry carts must be cleaned daily with a detergent germicidal solution before they are stocked with clean linens.
Your staff is your number one agent in the fight against infection; however, many members are not trained in proper linen handling processes or with the strains already placed on them, do not have adequate time to carryout meticulous procedures. Simple staff errors such as putting clean and soiled linens too close together, overfilling washing machines or not having the time to clean the washer, dryer and cart at the end of their shift may have disastrous consequences and lead to an increased risk of HAIs.
Assessing Your Equipment
Unfortunately, even top-notch appliances may not be enough to hygienically clean your facility’s laundry. Many washers found in senior living communities do not have the ability to reach appropriate washing cycle length at high enough temperatures (the CDC recommends a minimum washing cycle of 25 minutes at more than 160 degrees Fahrenheit), so while linens may come out looking clean, they still may be harboring bacteria. Even the size and layout of your building may be a setback. Failure to provide enough space for the separation of soiled and clean linens in designated laundry areas is a common problem. Many experts suggest storing dirty and clean linens in separate rooms, or at least employing barriers in the laundry area and installing equipment with a separate set of doors to keep bacteria-laden air from being discharged and recirculated in the clean laundry section.
Fortunately, the solution to preventing infection spread through medical linen is much easier than hiring and training additional staff and buying new laundry equipment. It’s as easy as working with a medical laundry specialist. Contact us for more information on how outsourcing your community’s medical laundry cannot only help prevent infection, but also save your facility money and give you piece of mind knowing your linens are hygienically clean.