During our last consulting session at a hospital, we asked what measures were being taken in the laundry process to prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections. The VP for facilities said the CDC didn’t see laundry items as vehicles that contribute to the spread of infection. They were concerned about the contamination of hard surfaces, and had procedures in place to deal with those surfaces. But soft and porous surfaces – linens, uniforms, bedding, curtains – were not being addressed in any detailed fashion. He said his hospital was following CDC guidelines. Laundry simply wasn’t on the list of potential concerns as it relates to the spread of infection. More than just a little evidence exists, however, that suggests that thought process might be flawed. Consider:

  • ran a piece that says five children died at Children’s Hospital in 2008 and 2009 after coming in contact with a deadly fungus transmitted to them through the linens they slept on, according to court records, interviews and a new report published by a pediatric medical journal. They included two newborns, a 13-year-old boy, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl, according to the findings of a study led by a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control and recently published by the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Why wouldn’t hospitals have all staff in antimicrobial uniforms? Plenty of companies make them.

Strict protocol with the handling of laundry can help immensely. Take a look at some of the procedures advocated by Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC), a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of inspecting and accrediting laundries processing healthcare textiles for hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities (  The detailed procedures HLAC outlines are complete and impressive. And doable.


By |2017-12-18T22:27:24+00:00December 18th, 2017|

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