Medical Linen Service -- Keep Your Patients Safe and Comfortable
Medical linens are used by more than just hospitals. Medical bed sheets are found in hospitals, doctors offices, massage therapist offices, clinics and diagnostic centers to name just a few. And medical linens go beyond just sheets. Medical practices also need to clean patient gowns, scrubs, towels, and lab coats. They can all present a challenging problem to keep clean.
Gowns and sheets help make patients comfortable. They should be high quality and feel good on the skin. Of course they must be clean and in good repair. Nothing will make a patient more concerned about the quality of your care than dirty or stained sheets. The end goal of every practice is always patient satisfaction and good linens can improve their experience.
The staff of the practice should also look their best. This includes scrubs or lab coats for everyone from doctors to the office staff. They should be cleaned and pressed to present a professional image. This will reassure the patient that you can handle the details of their condition.
Linens can be a major potential source of infection since they are likely to be contaminated by patients . Every medical practice needs to comply with the OSHA standards for the laundering and handling of medical linens. The CDC also has guidelines for infection control that must be met. Finally, every person who works in medicine should also be aware of HIPAA to protect patients' privacy.
Some basic requirements for washing medical linens are:
Medical linens must be changed between every patient. They should also be washed immediately if they come in contact with body fluids. Infectious diseases must also be handled more carefully and require more frequent change out.
When the linens are changed they should be collected with sealed bags immediately. The bags should be manufactured to eliminate the escape of micro-organisms like bacteria and viruses. Use gloves whenever handling dirty linens.
When cleaning the linens you will need to take a four step process. The first is to remove debris on the linens, if required. The next step is to wash the linens with warm water and soap for the more lightly soiled linens. Next they should be washed with bleach at temperatures above 160 degrees. Finally, they should be dried using high heat.
The last thing to consider is storage of the linens. Make sure the dirty linens are not stored with the dirty ones. Keep them off the ground and in closed closets or cabinets to reduce contamination.
With all the concerns about the quality and the various compliance issues, it is difficult for the average practice to manage the linens well. And as with any business decision the work must be done at a reasonable price. These two factors make it hard to be done by an employee. Most organizations who handle medical linens will contract out the work to a service.
When looking for a medical linen service for your practice there are several considerations. Check the quality of the linens they use. Get someone who can handle all the needs of your organization. Get a service that will mirror your frequency requirements. Check the pricing of several services to get a better deal.