One in four care home staff in the UK fear that their laundry may fail to prevent contamination, and 5% say they have seen an infection outbreak in their home that could be traced back to laundry procedures.
A study by Electrolux Professional reveals these shocking results after questioning 160 care home professionals.
The survey results feed into a white paper, titled Infection Prevention, that is being offered free of charge by Electrolux Professional to care home owners.
The paper outlines the correct equipment for a robust laundry room and, more importantly, describes a laundry cycle management approach that will minimise contamination and infection for any laundry.
The survey unearthed worrying inconsistencies between care home operators’ attitudes towards laundry processes compared with their managers. 33% of operators do not feel their laundry system is managed in a way which completely avoids contamination, compared to just 25% of managers.
Just 14 per cent of managers see contamination through linen as their prime concern when managing cleanliness, compared to 24% of those operating the equipment.
“The fact that nearly half of operators admit they don’t think staff at their facility understand the difference between visual and hygienic cleanliness is a huge concern that the industry needs to address. There is a high probability that residents within a care environment are being put at risk of serious illness and this is a risk that needs to be eliminated before a severe outbreak occurs,” said Amanda Dufrane, care segment manager at Electrolux Professional.
“The latest laundry concepts certainly go some way to offering complete hygiene assurance whilst playing their part in helping care homes to achieve positive resident wellbeing ratings, but can only do that if staff have a full understanding of how to use these systems to their full capabilities. In this respect, it is vital that care home managers invest in the appropriate levels of training to ensure all staff are able to keep hygiene firmly front of mind,” she added.