Bad linen services is one of the most frequently heard complaints in a hospital. Attention to patients’ personal needs and comforts are as important as the physician’s medication and therefore adequate supply of clean linen becomes imperative. Besides helping in maintaining a clean environment, clean linen is a vital element in providing high-quality medical care.
“Linen management plays a great role in patient satisfaction, reduces infection rate and operation costs and plays an important role in physician satisfaction.Efficient supply of linen without any defect and delay in time becomes a good support towards delivering timely quality healthcare services to the patients. If the hospital does not have proper supply chain of linen, then this may lead to the delay in OT and ICU procedures, patient care services, delay in CSSD operations and ultimately the entire hospital operations suffer.
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In today’s medical care facilities, patients expect daily linen changes. In areas like ICUs, linen has to be changed even more frequently. Often, the requirement of linen increase by 25 per cent in OT, cath lab and ICUs areas. To enable the laundry to meet such a demand, the hospital should have a sufficient quantity of linen for circulation.
Its supply is crucial in the public’s perception of the quality of patient care provided by the hospital. Some hospitals also have contract with third parties to manage its laundry requirements. Relationships between the launderettes and hospitals get strained as hospitals face shortage of linen during crisis. Many a times, it is difficult to count soiled linen. This creates a rift between the hospital and the linen contractor. Consequently, hospitals lose on stock of linen, as new linen needs to be constantly bought to replace torn and soiled ones.
Shortage of linen leaves patients dissatisfied. Sometimes, even surgeries get cancelled due to shortage of operation theatre linen. Also, due to uncertainty in arriving at correct stock, new linen is purchased which results in increasing costs. In order to overcome the above problems, it is imperative to have a linen management system that automatically tracks soiled and clean linen items continuously through the entire linen cycle. It is also essential to reduce the quantity of buffer linen stock at hospitals and ensure service quality standards.
✔ Chemically Inert–YES
✔ Light Weight–YES
✔ Food grade and CE/ FDA /ISO approved–YES
✔ Sterilize able–YES
✔ Chlorine and Alcohol repellent–YES(with repellency treatment)
✔ Excellent Barrier Properties to blood, body fluids and pathogen–YES(with repellency treatment)
✔ Latex-free, Stain free and Lint free–YES
✔ Protection against dry/wet contact and air borne particles–YES
✔ Abrasion resistant with a high level of fluid repellency–YES
✔ Optimal Fluid absorbency-Superior wet-strength ensures they do not shred even when wet–YES
✔ Bio degradable–YES
✔ Breathable:-Exchange of air, body heat and moisture–YES
✔ Hygienic:- Bacteria, Fungus and Virus resistant.–YES
✔ Single use-100% certainty.–YES
✔ Engineered stability for ETO, plasma, radiation or steam sterilization–YES
Laundry of linen is another essential function for all institutional housekeeping departments, but in healthcare facilities, laundry plays an even more important role—it not only contributes to comfort and aesthetics, but also assists in infection control. Because of its high level of energy, chemical and water consumption, laundry processing also has a significant impact on hospitals’ environmental and financial bottom line.
Linen can be contaminated via blood and any other body fluids, as well as by improper handling and storage. Clean linen does not need to be sterile (free from all microbes), but correct handling can help prevent the growth of micro-organisms that can develop under poor conditions.
Although soiled linen can be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms, actual disease transmission from linen has been demonstrated to be negligible if it is handled, transported and laundered in a manner that avoids dispersal. The right choice of linen should also be kept in mind as it affects patient care and healthcare costs. The inventory needs to be scientifically stocked and maintained. It should be remembered that, ‘more is not always better’ and any benign abuse is preventable, though margin for pilferage needs to be accommodated in the inventory stock.
Purchasing & Stocking
In a multi-specialty hospital, the ratio of beds to linen should be in the ratio 1:4 or 1:5. In an eye hospital, the ratio 1:3 is sufficient, as the patients do not stay in the hospital for more than two days, and there is very little scope for emergency change of linen, such as blood stain or oozing of wounds, The type of linen purchased depends on the culture and system of the organisation. The linen may be cotton or terry-cotton, printed or plain, with or without logo of the hospital printed on it. The linen may be uniform for all rooms or different categories of rooms, and different wards may have different colours.
Disposable V/S Reusable
Many hospitals in India preferred to use re-usable linen (which can be washed) over disposable due to its high cost earlier. But nowdays the disposable bed sheets are available at very competitive rates thus making the whole process a clean, hygienic and cost effective one to the utmost satisfaction of the patients. Moreover these disposables are bio degradable too so that it reduces the waste .
The advantage of disposable linen is that they are 100 per cent impervious to blood and body fluids as well as virus and bacteria. The operation room table, mattress, armboards and positioners will stay clean and dry, no matter how messy the case. This will greatly enhance infection control, dramatically improve turnover time and allow for reuse of foam positioners, thus decreasing cost and decreasing waste,
In countries like the US, they say that disposable linens are not more expensive when one considers the benefits of the impervious sheets compared to the linen sheets. The impervious linens improve turnover time, enhance infection control, eliminate abuse of linens and extend the life of positioners and/ or table mattresses. But in Indian hospitals, the tendency is towards reusing the linen after proper washing and sterilising, which results in high cost and act some time as a threat to inflectionless treatment. “For highly infected patients like HIV positive, HBSAG positive and HCV positive, use of disposable linen, instead of reusable is a practice in India.
Experts feel that using disposable linen products rather than reusable linen can help healthcare organisations achieve its waste reduction goals and also reduce costs.
Disposable products are often touted as costly, but at the end of the day when a life cycle analysis is used, this argument should be reassessed. Consistent with a facilities mission of environmental stewardship and cost containment, healthcare facilities can effectively reduce solid waste in their operations and save money by switching to disposable products where feasible, True and actual costs of reusable linen via cost analysis which should account the purchase price along with parameters like cost of waste disposal, occupational health cost(s), opportunity cost, carrying cost and environmental impact. It’s a known fact that reusable products come with an added burden of excess waste generation and costs incurred in labour and waste disposal need to be considered at the time of deciding between reusable and disposable.
Hospital labour costs alone account for 45 per cent of the expenses in the average community hospital with another 15 per cent going to employee benefits. The major tactic for reducing cost is to out source certain activities mainly linen management.
In-house activity can ensure that quality control is exercised at all times. Also decision making is quick as response time is critical to ensure quality service. One is unsure of the type of treatment given to clothes by outside laundries since they use stronger chemicals and acids, which tend to weaken fabrics, besides increasing the quantity of discard. In-house laundry is a better choice as one can choose the right chemicals for higher production and longer life, but it is costly.
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