One expects high level of hygiene standards in health facilities. It forms one of basis which qualifies a hospital facility to be highly regarded as one. A hospital laundry service refers to the adequate provision, proper and careful maintenance of linens and fabrics used in the hospital. It also entails all the operations involved in making clean and hygienic textiles available in the wards, theatres and office areas constantly. Linens and fabrics which are part of the laundry aspects of the hospitals are very crucial as far as patients are concerned, whether towels, sheets, gowns, blankets, pads, curtains, staff uniforms, kitchen linen etc, priority should be given to its handling.
Laundry Service Layout
A careful design in choosing the hospital laundry outlay is of huge importance. It is one aspect that the management prioritize because of the constant daily contacts made with the linens by both the medical staff and patients.
The sensitivity of hospital environments creates room for a constant check on the level of hygiene maintained in the facility, the cause for germs and infection control is a driving force behind any meaningful and productive effort towards good hygiene. There are some factors which should be considered in a hospital laundry service layout.
Laundry Department Layout /Space Requirement
It is paramount that every hospital management should carve out a highly functional and serious laundry service department which solely oversees all laundry handlings in the hospital. Some hospital managements monetize the services of its laundry departments by going public, that is, providing laundry services to the public as well as they do to the hospital itself.
It is a wise opinion to say that such action may cause a deviation in purpose and bring about sub standardization, the focus and priority should be given to the service of the hospital. The laundry facility should be strategically located in a well ventilated and light area, and good space consideration should be given for its machinery.
The personnel in charge of the laundry department does not only have the responsibility of keeping the hospital clothing neat but has other decisions to make including making a careful choice for suitable fabrics and type of linen the management should purchase, the quantity that should always be in stock, proper records and bookkeeping to always measure the success of its operation and services. Their tasks also include collecting soiled linen, cleaning, sorting, inspecting and distributing to the various departments.
The registers kept by the laundry personnel should provide guidance on when linens are collected or replaced and when emergency calls etc. such activities as collecting and receiving dirty and soiled linen from wards and other departments, sorting of linen, blood and stain removals, disinfection, washing, drying, repairing and sewing, ironing, storing and issuance of ready materials to the various departments.
It should serve as a to-do schedule for its daily operations, it also includes whether linen is to be changed hourly or daily, duty roasters and checks, assigned tasks and reports as the case may be.
The Use of Hygienic and Effective Laundry Equipment
Useful, adequate and hygienic machinery and equipment should always be in place for smooth and operational activities. The criteria for choice should not only be about the neatness of the linen, but it should also be one that facilitates fast productivity and efficiency. Laundry equipment includes washers extractors, chemical injectors, drying tumblers, ironers, shelves, cleaning agents, tables etc.
In making choices for laundry equipment, the high rate of increase in labor for laundry work in hospitals should be considered, and so to get the work done faster and more efficient, machines with high performance and speed should be considered. Extractors with high speed specifications and dryers which can save drying time at most by 70% and lessen energy consumption should also be put into consideration.
There are automatic chemical injectors which detect fluid stains like blood and other contaminants, these are appropriate and more preferable than manually applying chemical stain removals, and they save time and energy.
Even in facilities with relatively small space, barrier washers can be installed through a wall for clean linen on one side and soiled linen room on the other. This helps to keep soiled and contaminated linen separate from clean goods to avoid cross-contamination. High-spin sanitary barrier washing machines are highly recommended because they provide a good defense to bacteria and germs with its separate and opposite doors which ensure that there is no possible contact between clean and dirty laundry.
Health care laundry equipment should be purchased with specifications and features which are meant to meet the hygienic demand and standard of the hospital. Long lasting, hygienic, high-performance and efficient laundry equipment are the major factors, and these will determine the delivery and how perfect the services of a laundry department will be, which boils down to the comfort, relaxing, safety and well-being of the patients.