The Right Equipment Ensures Reduced Risk for Infection

medicalequipmentAccording to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, one in 20 hospital patients will acquire a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) during their treatment. While all hospitals and clinics strive to ensure that the risk of spreading infectious diseases between patients is reduced as much as possible, completely eliminating the threat of HAIs is unrealistic. Properly sanitizing textiles using specialized equipment ensures that dangerous bacteria are killed before they can spread to other patients.

Why Hospital Linens Can Be Dangerous

Studies have indicated that textiles can be considered a fomite, or an object that is capable of carrying an organism. Hospital linens act as reservoirs that are involved in disseminating bacteria. Various bacterial strains are able to survive up to 90 days on linens. However, careful laundering of hospital linens – the primary point of contact for patients – can greatly mitigate the risk of spreading infections.

What Type of Equipment Makes a Difference?

Using the right type of commercial laundry equipment will significantly reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease through contaminated textiles. Medical experts state that in order to effectively kill bacteria and other viruses carried on linens, laundry should be washed with detergent and bleach for at least 25 minutes in water that is 160° F. Studies have shown that bacteria, viruses, and bed bugs are unable to survive this water temperature and chemical mix.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), while there are multiple methods to hygienically sanitize or disinfect textiles, each method requires an equipment mix able to handle the various processes.

For instance, to ensure that a facility is heating water to the recommended 160° F, the laundry equipment will require advanced controls. These controls are able to display the exact water temperature inside the washing machine, as well as send data to a computer. This allows facility operators to print reports and provide documentation to prove that its washing protocol meets federal requirements.

Seeking a Trusted Healthcare Linen Service

As you consider possible healthcare linen services for your organization, be sure to do your research. A reputable textile laundering service will happily provide detailed information related to their industry and equipment standards. Also ask if they have adequate means to properly sanitize all surfaces that soiled linens come in contact with, such as laundry carts, conveyor belts, and trucks. All of these factors will greatly affect the cleanliness of your linens as well as the safety of your healthcare facility.

Aly Merritt is the Marketing Manager at Angelica Corporation, a leader in the medical linen service industry. Originally founded in 1878, Angelica Corporation now products healthcare linen solutions and hospital laundry services nationwide. Learn more about hospital laundry services at http://www.angelica.com.

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