Infection Control Today

SEP 2018

ICT delivers to infection preventionists & their colleagues in the operating room, sterile processing/central sterile, environmental services & materials management, timely & relevant news, trends & information impacting the profession & the industry

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how HCTs can become contaminated prior to their use and to take measures accordingly. 1 • IPs can actually affect a hospital's bottom line and improve infection prevention effor ts with effective linen strategy. Key considerations where the knowledgeable IP can make a difference include: linen vendor choice, linen choices, linen care, linen management, and a trusted partnership with a healthcare laundry (on- or off-premise) whose processes are based on the highest professionally recognized standards. 2 • To improve infec tion prevention awareness among the C-suite, IPs need to speak the language of the C-suite. This means to link the details about infection prevention to larger topics of patient safety and satis- faction, fnancial health and stability, compliance, strategic planning and i nn o v a t i o n, a n d e nv i ro nm e nt a l stewardship. Align your messages with the C-suite's mindset and you'll get their attention. 3 Proven, Quantifi ed Hygienically Clean Linens, Gowns and Scrubs Infection prevention to minimize HAIs requires your laundry service to be Hygienically Clean certifi ed to ensure healthcare textiles (HCTs) are safe from microbes, molds and fungus: • Proven best laundry practices detailed in quality assurance (QA) manuals • Multiple third-party inspections that follow consistent, proven protocols • Quarterly testing of clean laundry to internationally recognized standards Managed by an advisory board of laundry, epidemiology, infection control, nursing and other healthcare professionals, Hygienically Clean is the right certifi cation to include in your RFP for linen and uniform service. YOUR LAUNDRY VISIT PLAN—Know what to look for when you observe a healthcare laundry's washing, fi nishing (drying, folding, ironing), staging and storage. Download this guide to visible indications of a laundry's thoroughness, based on Hygienically Clean certifi cation inspection protocols: www.hygienicallyclean.org/laundryvisit References: 1. Sehulster LM. Diligence in Infection Prevention is Key to Maintaining the Quality of Laundered Healthcare Textiles. Infection Control Today. Oct. 26, 2017. 2. Gicewicz G and Larson JC. How Infection Preventionists Can Affect a Hospital's Bottom-Line With Effective Linen Strategy. Infection Control Today. Nov. 27, 2017. 3. Gicewicz G, Scherberger J and Sehulster L. Aligning the IP's Laundry Message With the C-Suite Mindset. Infection Control Today, Dec. 11, 2017. — Gregory Gicewicz, president of Sterile Surgical Systems; past-president and inspection committee chair for Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) Since the late 1970s, the CDC has identified just 14 incidents worldwide connecting laundry hygiene to healthcare associated infections and only four of these in the United States. The odds that a patient would obtain a healthcare associated infection (HAI) from linen are 1 in 77 million, making it 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning then than obtaining an HAI from linens. It's essential to understand that the challenge is to reduce a tiny risk even more, not to portray the situation as a high infection risk. Healthcare facilities can maximize awareness by paying closer attention to how they handle and store healthcare textiles (HCTs) following their delivery as clean. We advocate training and retraining of medical facility staff in best practices based on OSHA's universal precautions for handling soiled linen saturated with blood, bodily fuids, harmful residue from treatments and other potentially infectious materials. Training can be low impact for information complexity, but high impact with simple steps that everyone can take to improve the continuum of care and reduce linen loss. Similarly, steps can be taken to increase attention to handling clean linen. Healthcare facility management can develop a written policies and procedures manual outlining their own best practices for the various aspects of such handling. Use of a manual expressly for this purpose helps train new staff members and supports monitoring and evaluating the linen-handling process. Every stage of this process runs the risk of contamination as every surface that touches an HCT is arguably a determinant of the cleanliness of the textile itself. — Joseph Ricci, president and CEO, TRSA

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