Infection control is vital in aged care facilities, not only with the Coronavirus threat but for every day and seasonal viruses. Laundry in an aged care setting includes sheeting, blankets, towels, residents clothing and staff uniforms.
Proper handling of laundry is crucial, making sure that appropriate hygiene standards are maintained to protect not only residents but staff.
Harmful viruses can carry on laundry and linens, particularly gastroenteritis or influenza, and vulnerable residents are not the only ones at risk. Improved protocols are needed to make sure that staff who are handling soiled textiles and linens or discarded single-use equipment are protected with the appropriate PPE to prevent transfer.
Contaminated textiles and fabrics usually contain high numbers of microorganisms from body substances such as blood, skin, stool, urine, vomit, and other bodily fluids. Patients in a weakened or bed-bound state will have been lying on sheets for prolonged periods, and the linens will be damp and warm - perfect conditions to breed bacteria and encourage viruses.
Prevention of infection is not the only reason to make sure that proper protocols are in place in the laundry. The condition of residents clothing highlights immediately the standard of care that the resident is receiving. The state of their clothing speaks to a resident’s individuality and style and is inherent in making them feel good about themselves.