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The importance of cleaning laundry correctly at home and in the care environment
To help reduce the risk of spreading infection, a new paper has been released by the IFH covering the important factors of cleaning linen and clothing properly in the home. These guidelines can apply also to care homes and nursing environments.
The introduction states primarily that the evidence presented in the 2009 IFH review on the global burden of hygiene-related diseases shows that infection outbreaks in the home and everyday life settings, particularly gastrointestinal (GI) infections, respiratory infections (RT), and skin, wound and eye infections, continue to exact a heavy toll on the health and prosperity of the global community.
Reading through the paper it’s easy to understand why hygiene is the first starting point to reduce the spread of infection such as MRSA and the community-acquired Panton Valentine Leukocidin.
The breakdown of how infection spreads starts with hands. From there on in, it is contact form hands to surface, food contact surface, cleaning cloths and utensils, clothing and household linens, toilets and bathroom facilities, and finally floors, walls, furniture, etc.
Laundry of clothing and linen within the home, care home or nursing environment has the potential to act as vehicles with the spread of infection. From donning clothes that have failed to be cleaned correctly, or where highly contaminated linen or towelling that has been washed with other laundry with disease being passed between items, to sharing bedding (pillows, sheets) and even sitting on contaminated on a bed can cause the spread of micro-organisms.
Here’s a ‘literal’ example of how infection from bedding can spread, not just in a single environment, but into the outside world: An elderly relative has been admitted to hospital, and loving relatives visit to show their concern and support. On numerous occasions, these relatives, and their off-spring, will sit on the patient’s bed. Now imagine if that patient has contracted MRSA. This has spread onto the linen and been picked up by the clothing and hands of their relatives. On their return home, the visiting relatives will then pass on the MRSA contamination to furniture, further bedding, and laundry.
This may seem slightly far-fetched, but as the paper explains in detail this is exactly why the cleaning of clothing, towelling and laundry effectively is so critical in infection control. The paper fully addresses procedures and identifies fungal, bacterial and viral strains, how contamination occurs and its potential for spreading. More importantly, once highlighting the risks and their origins, it deals with the fundamental issues of the correct procedures to tackle the problems raised.
This paper is essential reading matter for all care and nursing home managers, healthcare facilities and healthcare associations.
To download the paper visit: http://www.gloveman.co.uk/
or you can obtain further information from http://www.ifh-
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