Enhanced Healthcare Laundry Certification Standard Now Available
The updated Standard for Producing Hygienically Clean Reusable Textiles for Use in the Healthcare Industry, containing improved terminology that clarifies compliance requirements, is now available for download on the Hygienically Clean website.
Click here or enter bit.ly/hchealthcareinfo in your browser to visit the Hygienically Clean Healthcare webpage and access the update. The new terminology better identifies mandates, distinguishing them from practices strongly recommended, as the program’s Advisory Board has eliminated the use of “should” and “may” from references to laundry practices. Now all such stipulations use only “must” (identifying a laundry practice that is required for compliance with the standard) or “shall” (indicating a practice recommended for implementation, but not mandatory).
For example, the standard formerly stipulated that a laundry “should” have documentation of a current integrated pest management program consistent with healthcare-recommended practices with evidence of scheduled treatments. Now a plant “must” have such documentation. Other “should” to “must” changes relate to compiling a plant’s quality assurance (QA) manual and minimizing manual handling of soiled linen.
Most clarifications involved changing “shall” to “must” because the former “shall” clauses had been enforced as mandates, but “shall” isn’t strong enough to convey that compliance with these stipulations is required, explained Angela Freeman, TRSA certification programs manager.
“The changes do not make the standard more prescriptive. Hygienically Clean remains true to its mission of enabling laundries in compliance with best management practices to use their own documented standard operating procedures to achieve BMPs,” she said. The new terminology essentially makes requirements easier to understand so certified laundries consistently produce hygienically clean linen.
Hygienically Clean Healthcare inspectors ensure laundries deploy BMPs grounded in regulations, standards and guidance of OSHA, EPA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). The Hygienically Clean standard was previously recognized by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) as a premier and recognized resource dedicated to excellence in patient care.
In 2017, Hygienically Clean joined with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology to launch APIC Industry Perspectives, a website that builds clinical knowledge related to infection prevention product usage, the science supporting specific methodologies and best practices to keep patients safe.
Each Hygienically Clean certified laundry’s QA manual documents its complete range of processes. This gives certification inspectors a focal point for evaluating compliance with BMPs. Through the Hygienically Clean Healthcare Users Group, the foremost experts in laundry technology evaluate BMPs to be included in the standard. No other collaboration of launderers matches these certified operators’ knowledge of the complete healthcare textile (HCT) processing cycle.
The Users Group updates the Advisory Board, chaired by Randy Bartsch, CEO, Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service, on current and emerging technologies. Besides laundering, professions represented on the Board include physicians, infection prevention, epidemiology, nursing and more.
The ranks of Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified facilities recently eclipsed 125; another 40 are in the process of becoming certified. The certification was introduced in 2012.
Hygienically Clean certification is the fastest growing and most recognized international standard for processing healthcare linens and garments. The certification demonstrates linen, uniform and facility services companies’ commitment to cleanliness through independent, third-party laundry plant inspection and quantified microbial testing. Inspection and re-inspection verify that items are maintained, washed, dried, ironed, packed, transported and delivered using best management practices (BMPs) to meet key disinfection criteria. In addition to scheduled and supplemental inspections, ongoing microbial testing quantifies cleanliness and validates the laundering process. This combination of process and outcome measures ensures linens and uniforms cleaned in certified facilities meet appropriate standards: Hygienically Clean Food Safety, Hygienically Clean Food Service, Hygienically Clean Healthcare and Hygienically Clean Hospitality. Visit www.hygienicallyclean.org