Hygienically Clean Advisory Board Upgrades Standard

Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:38 pm

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The Hygienically Clean Advisory Board made improvements to the Standard for Producing Hygienically Clean Reusable Textiles for Use in the Healthcare Industry during TRSA’s recent Healthcare Conference in Salt Lake City. The standard’s new terminology clarifies compliance requirements and better identifies mandates, distinguishing them from practices that are strongly recommended.

The laundry certification’s Advisory Board eliminated “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). The standard also uses “will,” but only in descriptions of actions that TRSA takes to certify plants, such as inspection procedures.

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. However, “shall” isn’t strong enough to convey that compliance with these stipulations is required, said Angela Freeman, TRSA certification programs manager.

“The changes do not make the standard more prescriptive,” Freeman said. “Hygienically Clean remains true to its mission of enabling laundries in compliance with best-management practices (BMPs) to use their own documented standard operating procedures to achieve BMPs.” The new terminology essentially makes requirements easier to understand so certified laundries consistently produce hygienically clean linen.

Hygienically Clean Healthcare inspectors ensure that 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.

This year, 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. Click here to learn more.