The pressure on on-premises laundries serving medical and long-term care facilities has always been great. Infection control isn’t a one-and-done proposition; it’s an ongoing battle and one that is constantly changing. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that fact.
A second lesson, and one that is important for every on-premises laundry, regardless of the facility it serves, to focus on is that process matters. There’s no doubt that the start of the pandemic exposed process breakdowns at senior care and nursing facilities.
For instance, we all know heat is of paramount importance in killing bacteria, but when was the last time your laundry checked that temperature? A temperature of at least 160°F (71°C) for a minimum of 25 minutes is commonly recommended for hot-water washing in health care facilities and nursing homes, according to the CDC. In addition, the use of chlorine bleach assures an extra margin of safety. Chlorine bleach becomes activated at water temperatures of 135°F–145°F (57.2°C–62.7°C).
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to run through an audit of your processes:
- Check those temperatures
- Meet with your chemical representative and equipment distributor to ensure chemicals are being added at the proper times and correct dosages
- Hold regular, quick stand-up meetings with staff to review processes and offer them a venue to share their own improvement ideas
- Survey your equipment and technology – does it have the features and functionalities to deliver exceptional hygienic results and peace of mind in the current – and any future – pandemics?