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Categories:  Commercial Laundering HLAC/Hygienically Clean Infection Control Rental Services and Benefits 

This far-ranging review, "Healthcare Laundry and Textiles in the United States: Review and Commentary on Contemporary Infection Prevention Issues"* covers a number of topics important to understanding the role laundering plays in preventing healthcare acquired infections (HAI).  Among them:

  • Reviews the history of HAI's attributed to laundered textiles.  Such events are extremely rare, with only twelve worldwide occurrences reported in the last 43 years.  Innovations in the laundry industry enable it to reliably provide a diverse and high-quality product line to healthcare facilities.
  • Describes the intricate nature of the laundry process and the benefits of "professional" laundering. Do not be misled by the simplicity of home laundering.  To consistently provide clean, reusable textiles that are hygienically clean (i.e. are "free of pathogens in sufficient numbers to cause human illness."), requires precise control of the wash cycle variables of time, water temperature, agitation, and chemical formulations, as well as diligent adherence to industry standards and best practices.
  • Discusses the importance of transportation and storage after laundering.  The study states, "The outbreaks of clinically symptomatic infection among patients -- (only 12 in the last 43 years) -- are associated with textiles contaminated with environmental pathogens after laundering or contaminated owing to a deficiency in the laundering process."  A finely-tuned laundering process is critical but not sufficient to assure hygienically-clean textiles at time of use.  Transport and storage offer opportunity for contamination and must be designed to protect textiles from dust and soil and microbial growth.
  • Reasserts CDC's guidance against routine microbiological testing to assure hygienic Cleanliness. Current efforts to infer hygienic cleanliness from microbiolical testing are described and ultimately evaluated as lacking statistical validity and rigorous scientific support.  The author emphasizes the importance of laundry and post-laundering process control to assure that textiles are hygienically clean at start of use.
 
 
Paris Healthcare Linen Services facilities and laundering processes are accredited by the
independent Healthcare Linen Accreditation Council (HLAC; www.hlacnet.org), the original
healthcare laundry certification.  Use an HLAC accredited laundry for verification of laundry
process integrity and use Paris Healthcare Linen Services for assurance of business integrity.

 

* Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology; published by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, online 18 June 2015; Lynne M. Sehulster, PhD, Prevention and Response Branch, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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