Electrolux: Biocontamination and the laundry process

Friday, 12 September, 2014

Did you know?
[hr]The largest concentration of Staphylococcus aureaus(Golden Staph) ever found in a heath care establishment in Australia was found in the Clean Linen Room of a leading hospital.[hr]
There are many potential sources of microbiological contamination in hospitals and the reality is that, as all processes within hospitals are interrelated, bacteria are easily spread unless stringent controls are in place.
For example, a surgical theatre may be scrupulously sterilized but unless the surgeons’ gowns have been equally carefully handled, harmful bacteria can easily be transferred to exposed patients.
The importance of laundry is often underestimated when we think about patient care, despite indications that good hospital laundry practice can reduce biocontamination levels. With hospital acquired infections (HAI) affecting the health and recovery of tens of thousands of patients and resulting in thousands of deaths a year. No one in the healthcare environment can afford to ignore the role of laundry in the fight against lethal bacteria. Yet, according to numerous reports, many infection control teams were not even consulted over laundry (or cleaning and catering) contracts.
Sheets, gowns, uniforms, towels, cleaning tools (mops, cloths) and ward furnishings are crucial ‘touch points’ for anyone working in or visiting a hospital. They are a gateway for infections. If properly controlled, laundry process can limit the spread of bacteria; if not, the handling of laundered item will ensure swift biocontamination throughout the hospital.
Moreover, the warm, damp environment of a laundry room can make it an excellent breeding ground for bacteria, rather than a decontamination zone.
Good laundry practice is, of course, based around appropriate washing techniques that ensure decontamination of materials. However, this is just part of the picture, it also needs to ensure that linen is stored, sorted and transported correctly and that opportunities for recontamination are minimised.
Some aspects of good practice require a more technical knowledge of hygiene, such as how to keep the soiled linen area at a lower air pressure than the clean linen area (negative air pressure). However, many elements are straightforward common sense, for example, the need for scrupulous separation of clean and dirty materials. Distressingly, there are plenty of examples of hospital laundries in Australia continuing to make these basic mistakes.
The Electrolux approach is based on the Risk Analysis and Biocontamination Control System (RABC), and Australian Laundry Standards AS/NZS 4146:2000 for controlling the microbiological quality of laundered textiles.
This model is focused around:

  • Audit – understanding the laundry process in its entirety so that the right processes can be identified for the demands of a specific environment

  • Equipment – reviewing whether the right equipment is in place, from specialist barrier washers for decontaminating infected materials that are used in sensitive patient environments to straightforward tools such as closed trolleys for transporting clean linen

  • Control – constant reviews of the microbiological quality of the linen, levels of decontamination, etc. Electrolux works with specialist laboratories, to verify hygiene standards

Electrolux Laundry Systems offers complimentary laundry audits and a laundry design service. All Electrolux products are supported by professionally trained Service Technicians and full Spare Parts Support Australia wide.
When hygiene is critical, good laundry practices are a must. The Electrolux Professional range guarantees peace of mind.
electrolux-logoFor more information email sales@electroluxlaundry.com.au and our website to www.electrolux.com/professional
To receive your free booklet on how to improve the safety and hygiene of your laundry contact Electrolux on 1300 888 948.
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