Hospital laundries must deal with many types of soil loading on a continuing basis that will rarely be seen in hospitality linens. Hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and other healthcare organizations must routinely deal with linens contaminated with blood, mucus, feces, urine, bacteria, viruses and many other organic contaminants. The medical community is very aware of how diseases are transmitted, therefore many rules governing the construction and operation of a healthcare linen facility exist.
Water Energy Laundry Consulting is proud to offer the services of laundry engineers with many years of experience in the largest healthcare linen facilities in the country, including the Veterans Administration Hospital Laundry System, for which one of our engineers lead the development of the VA’s standard Policies and Procedures.
Some of the many points covered in our Best Practices doctrine include the complete separation of the incoming, dirty linen side of the laundry from the clean, processed linen side. An air quality handling system must be utilized to provide negative pressure on the dirty side and positive pressure on the clean side with pathogen-free air.
Our team of laundry design experts includes Dr. David (Dave) Kaiser of Airborne Contamination Control in Santa Paula, California. He has spent the better part of his career developing unique and extremely effective air quality control systems for hospital critical care environments and in food processing plants. Dr. Kaiser’s work with the California Citrus Association and Sunkist Growers has established new air quality management standards within the citrus industry. We are extremely fortunate to be able to bring his expertise to bear on our healthcare linen facility designs.
Our healthcare linen specialists know how dirty linen must be handled when it enters the building to reduce the amount of airborne pathogens produced when unloading it. They know what type of protective clothing and masks must be worn by employees while processing dirty linens. They know how dirty linen is sorted in the safest and most efficient method while keeping down airborne pathogens. They know what types of carts and conveyors must be used to most efficiently move this incoming linen from the sorting area to the washers. They know how the laundry carts must be sterilized before moving them to the clean side of the laundry. The carts that bring in the dirty linens must also be used to stack the clean linens on and return to the customer. They absolutely must be sterilized between removing the dirty linens and stacking the clean linens on them with a machine specifically designed to perform this function called a cart washer. They know what type of dryers to use to accommodate this need to keep the two sides separate – a pass-thru dryer that opens on both sides.
You put the clean, wet linens in on one side and when they are dry a door on the other side opens and lets you pull the clean, dry linen out on the clean side. The door on the other side stays closed and the air quality management system ensures no airborne pathogens will accidentally cross the threshold into the clean side from the dirty side. They know about shrink-wrapping technologies particularly admired by healthcare organizations for keeping linens sterile up until the time they are needed.
Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council
The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of inspecting and accrediting laundries that process healthcare textiles for hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Accreditation is an entirely voluntary process. The Council does not have members, but is comprised of a 12-person Board of Directors serving on a voluntary basis. HLAC’s mission is to establish high standards for processing healthcare textiles in laundries, and to provide an inspection and accreditation process to recognize those laundries that meet these high standards.
Laundry Consulting and Design builds healthcare linen facilities that exceed all of the minimum standards adopted by HLAC for this type of facility.