Key steps to giving your laundry a clean bill of health

A look at laundry facilities’ contribution as part of a hospital’s overall ‘infection control care bundle’, and some of the key priorities to ensure they are operated compliantly and safely.

Jackie Hook CChem, MRSC, and Lucy Cripwell (BSC Hons), of the Research and Development team at JLA – a specialist in the supply and servicing of catering, laundry, infection control, fire safety and security, and heating and air-conditioning systems, discuss the contribution of laundry facilities as part of a hospital or other healthcare facility’s overall ‘infection control care bundle’. They also highlight some of the key priorities to ensure that such laundries are operated in a compliant and safe manner that minimises any risk of infection transmission. 

In all our lives laundry is part of our everyday routine, but it is often considered a low-risk area of activity in healthcare, with its potential value to sound infection control greatly underestimated. The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly raised the profile of disinfection, stringent infection control, and and the need for strict hygiene measures throughout healthcare and other public buildings in order to minimise outbreaks of infection, and help to contain them when they occur. Perhaps for the first time an efficient and effective healthcare facility laundry process was recognised as a key part of the infection control regime; existing processes were scrutinised, and careful consideration afforded to what measures were required to cope with the virus, in the light of research confirming its persistence on textiles for long periods. Additionally, with increased concerns over the availability of effective antibiotics, particularly given the antibiotic-resistant nature of a number of microorganisms, attention is now being focused on reducing infections at source. As a consequence, many infection control  practitioners are now focusing heavily on areas previously considered low risk, such as laundry

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