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Healthcare Execs View Hygienically Clean Webinar

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Nearly 200 viewers, including more than 100 healthcare professionals, learned “What Healthcare Laundry Inspectors Uncover” Aug. 16 in a webinar presented by the chief inspector for Hygienically Clean certification.

The fastest-growing such designation for laundries, this program continues to attract increasing attention for its success in:

  • Verifying through on-site inspection these facilities’ commitment to best management practices (BMPs)
  • Quantifying through microbial testing their capability to produce hygienically clean textiles
     

Several webinars broadcast since the certification’s 2012 inception had informed linen, uniform and facility services operators about Hygienically Clean protocols. This week’s presentation brought them up to speed on strategies and tactics laundries applying for the designation deploy to achieve it. By inviting healthcare professionals to view this webinar at the same time, the certification program addressed their interest in learning what to look for when they personally visit outsourced laundries.

The invitation followed Hygienically Clean’s exhibit in June at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) annual conference, where visitors to the display noted the importance of touring laundries to their profession. Some 175 APIC participants saw the Hygienically Clean display; all were invited to view the webinar, along with more than 1,200 other healthcare professionals who had learned about the certification from other Hygienically Clean exhibits and communications. Besides infection control and prevention, among the professions of individuals registered for the webinar:

  • Administrators
  • Ambulatory Surgery Center Association members
  • C-level executives
  • Environmental services
  • Housekeeping
  • Nursing
  • Quality assurance
  • Risk management
  • Safety
     

The webinar, led by Chief Inspector Bob Corfield, covered key points from the program’s plant inspection checklist. Inspection ensures laundries’ BMPs are documented, he noted, and assesses points critical to infection prevention in all aspects of the laundry process, including: 

  • Functional separation of soiled and clean areas
  • Equipment
  • Housekeeping procedures
  • Washing procedures
  • Finishing (drying, folding, ironing)
  • Compliance with OSHA regulations
     

Corfield, a 30 year-veteran of laundry management, engineering and design, emphasized the importance of proper packaging and handling in delivering healthcare textiles. He mentioned maintaining functional separation on trucks, training employees properly to work in confined spaces and documenting housekeeping. These are infrequent but prominent and require corrective action, he pointed out.

About 120 laundries have earned Hygienically Clean Healthcare certification. Protocols confirm a laundry’s dedication to compliance and processing linens and uniforms using BMPs as described in its quality-assurance documentation, the focal point for inspectors’ evaluation of critical control points that minimize risk. The inspection confirms essential evidence that:

  • Employees are properly trained and protected
  • Managers understand legal requirements
  • OSHA-compliant
  • Physical plant operates effectively
     

In addition, applicants pass three rounds of outcome-based testing, indicating that their processes remove microbial content to pose negligible risk to patients. To maintain certification, laundry plants must pass quarterly testing including yeast and mold detection to ensure that as laundry conditions change, such as water quality, textile fabric composition and wash chemistry, laundered product quality is consistently maintained.