Hospital linen and laundry management are of utmost importance considering the present scenario. With the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare managers are now compelled to look into one of the most ignored and misunderstood aspect of the healthcare facility. Hospital linen has a vital role to play in spreading as well as mitigating infections. But before anything, it is important to understand why do hospitals invest a considerable amount of funds for uniforms and PPEs for health workers, dresses for patients, bed linen and other linens. It is not just for branding- it ensures that infection is controlled effectively. It gives a high level of safety to the hospital workers by ensuring that they don’t carry home any microbes or harmful bacteria or infections. Thus, proper linen and laundry management are crucial so that the healthcare facility is able to achieve its objectives.
Understanding the importance of cleaning hospital linen
The breakout of the pandemic has made it necessary for the healthcare managers to follow a very detailed protocol to sterilise and understand the process of disinfection in ruling out the chances of infection.
- The most important aspect of hospital cleaning protocol is infection control. The prime focus of hospital audits like NABH ensures that each and every healthcare facility have different mechanisms for infection control so that acquired infections can be nipped at the bud.
- Hospitals and nursing homes in India have traversed a long way to implement infection control protocols. But the focus mainly lies in general cleanliness and also operation theatres. But laundry and linen are often overlooked but they play a huge role in spreading infection. And thus, NABH must develop norms like that of European countries.
- Operation theatres along with everything associated with it like the linen used in various procedures is of utmost importance. There are significant protocols to be followed like using sterile linens to make it infection-free.
- In western countries, laundry and cleaning are given equal importance. This is because linen used in operation theatres and also outside it can spread diseases and secondary infections. Therefore, sterilising it is a must.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic all across the world, healthcare centres in India are paying special attention to make the laundry free from infections. It might not be always possible to wash and sterilise all the uniforms and fabric stuff used for the doctors, nurses, hospital employees and patients who are involved in the isolation ward. In such cases, some guidelines are to be prepared from several reliable sources and maintained.
The minimum requirement for disinfection includes thermal disinfectant, draining of water with the helo of machines, chemical disinfection and using machines that are purposely created for washing linens used in the treatment of COVID-19. Besides, hospital linen washing protocols are to followed strictly. Armed with all these, we can surely come out of the grave situation soon.