Infection control procedures for healthcare laundry

Healthcare textiles and laundry are a key -- but often overlooked -- component of a healthcare institution's HAI-prevention program. Here's a look at the latest news relating to healthcare textiles and laundry:

HLAC Debuts New Process Monitoring ToolKit

The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) formally introduces its new HLAC Laundry Process Monitoring ToolKit. Developed by HLAC, the new process monitoring toolkit (PMTK) validates the effectiveness of a laundry's processes by measuring the number of microorganisms found in a laundry on hard surfaces, in the air, on linen, in the water and on employee hands.

HLAC is a nonprofit organization that inspects and accredits laundries processing textiles for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.

"HLAC developed PMTK to respond to the challenge for operators to continually know how well their processes are performing and whether their standards are on target as originally intended," said Gregory Gicewicz, who heads the committee that developed the ToolKit on behalf of HLAC.

Online information about PMTK is available at www.PMTKnet.org.

According to the HLAC, PMTK is vastly different in scale from anything else currently available in the industry. It employs an extraction technique designed to recover the most accurate representation of contamination on laundry media.

With this data in hand, the laundry may adjust accordingly the effectiveness of its overall plant hygiene, wash and hand-hygiene processes.

"Responsible healthcare laundries go to great lengths to maintain the highest standards in the name of hygiene and infection prevention," Gicewicz said. "Moreover, laundries that are accredited by HLAC have set in place numerous in plant processes to provide their healthcare customers hygienically clean linen. Our ToolKit goes a long way to safeguarding all of these

He added: "In simplified terms, our PMTK does for microorganism identification what the Hubble Telescope does for astronomy. Everything else that is currently available is like trying to look at the stars through a pair of opera glasses."

Source: Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC)

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