| Main Topic | Hygiene
Infection control in the healthcare sector is the result of cooperation among all parts of a laundry service. Photo: Fotolia/amixstudio
Controlling infections in the healthcare sector
on the front lines
The escalation of antibiotic-resistant, pathogenic bacteria – such as so-called superbugs
like MRSA, which is increasingly resistant to normal treatment – is making the need for
better infection control procedures and workflows more and more urgent. Laundries are at
the forefront of the fight against infections.
Every laundry service in the healthcare sector has long been
responsible for infection control. Regardless of whether the facility
is in a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or a dental
practice. In the last decade, new viral threats from the growth of
world travel have made establishing global disease prevention
standards a central issue.
The greater presence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens – so-called
superbugs like MRSA, which is increasingly resistant to normal
treatment – is intensifying the need for better procedures and
workflows. At the forefront in the battle against the spread of
are laundries. “Forget everything you previously
thought about laundries, i.e. 50-year-old washers and dryers
by unskilled workers,” says Christoph Kampmann,
regional sales manager for Germany at Alliance Laundry Systems.
“Modern laundry services have become high-tech environments
staffed by well-trained employees.”
New standards set the course
In Europe and the United States, new guidelines were established
with the intent of preventing microbial contamination and the
spread of bacteria. Germany has taken a leading role by setting
very strict standards in order to comply with RAL norms for
hospital laundry. To obtain the RAL-GZ 992 (and NF EN
14065 European standard for Textile care in healthcare) quality
label, laundries must fulfill certain regulations and pass internal
as well as independent external inspections.
The basis of all specified standards is the simple focus on
where the risk of infection exists. Simultaneously,
proactive measures must be taken to control this risk. It is obvious
that separating clean and dirty laundry is an essential element
here. It must also be accompanied by the setup of the laundry, the
procedures used, and especially the training of the staff.
Constructing a physical barrier
A clear solution for guaranteeing the separation of clean and dirty
laundry is the use of a barrier washer for the laundry service.
By installing the washer in a wall, this simple solution creates
a physical barrier. The washer drum is filled on the side of the
room designated for dirty laundry. After washing, it is removed
on the other side of the barrier – which is solely reserved for
22 GLOBAL CLEANING | ISSUE 2018